Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Uppsala Winter Camp 2008: Thursday night

Swing dancing at Drabanten at Uppsala Winter Camp. Copyright: Henrik Eriksson. The photo may not be used elsewhere without my permission.

Last week I was busy doing all sorts of things in connection with The Winter Camp here in Uppsala which is a pretty large dance camp.

Swing dancing at Drabanten at Uppsala Winter Camp. Copyright: Henrik Eriksson. The photo may not be used elsewhere without my permission.

It started on Thursday night and I and Olle prepared the big hall at Drabanten. Acoustically, the room is very challenging but I belive we did the best we could and it sounded quite good. We also played around with our (*cough* I mean Swingkatten's) new light equipment. I can't tell you enough how good it is to have easy access to equipment, it makes it so much easier to put on good looking events. Good lighting really helps to get a nice atmosphere.

Swing dancing at Drabanten at Uppsala Winter Camp. Copyright: Henrik Eriksson. The photo may not be used elsewhere without my permission.

Laura Keat taught a fun 1920's solo charleston routine in the beginning of the night set to the song Stockholm Stomp from the album "My Favorite Band" by Mora's Modern Rhythmists and then Emelie, Jonas and David dj:ed after that. There was a good amount of people there, especially considering that most people had to work the next day.

The photos are taken by me and may not be published elsewhere without my permission. Contact me if you want to license them.

Were you at the Thursday night dance at Uppsala Winter Camp? What did you think of the evening? Tell me.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jitterbug contest in "Sten Stensson Sten kommer till stan"

Jitterbug dancing is rarely seen in Swedish films but one film where you can see it is the drama/comedy Sten Stensson Sten kommer till stan from 1945.

The amazing comedian Nils Poppe plays the main character Sten Stensson Sten, which is an student from the University of Lund in the south of Sweden. He is a good student but has maybe studied too many years and is caught up in the academic world.

In one scene he has arrived to Stockholm to tell the youth about the dangers of dancing and that dance will probably lead to criminality. He doesn't succeed in his mission but unvillingly gets dragged into a jitterbug competion.

Watch this hilarious video clip with Nils Poppe as Sten Stensson Sten in a jitterbug contest.

The girl who dances with Nils Poppe in the video clip is Ulla Norgren. If you know anything about her, let me know.

The song is "Hela Sverige dansar jitterbug" (Everybody in Sweden dances jitterbug). Music and lyrics by Nils Perne, Sven Paddock and Willard Ringstrand. The song is performed by Freddy Albeck with Gösta Tönnes orkester.

There is actually more dancing in the film in a scene directly before this one where you can see social dancing with dancers from Stockholm, probably from the swing dance club Honkytonk. In that scene some bigotry is shown because Sten Stensson Sten (unsuccessfully) tries to get stronger drinks (like vodka) at the dance hall but all that is served is coffee and soda.

Alcohol could certainly be a potential danger to society and lead to criminality while I can't think of any dance that in itself would be dangerous.

What do you think of the video clip with the jitterbug contest in "Sten Stensson kommer till stan"? Tell me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall 70 years ago

Today it's the 70th anniversary of Benny Goodman's concert at Carnegie Hall, a concert that really helped swing to become mainstream music. The climax of the concert was the performance of the song Sing, Sing, Sing.

Here is a video clip of Sing, sing, sing with Benny Goodman's orchestra from the movie Hollywood Hotel from 1937.

You'll notice Gene Krupa on drums and Harry James on trumpet.

This version is very short compared to the Carnegie hall version which is 12 minutes long.

What do you think of the video clip with Benny Goodman playing Sing, Sing, Sing? Tell me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Benny Goodman and the art of improvising

In a tv program from 1967 Benny Goodman and some other jazz musicians talk about and show what it means to do jazz improvisation.

In the first clip they show how a new song can be born through improvisation on a another one, here they play In a Mellow Tone and Rose Room at the same time.

In the second video clip they talk about what they feel when they are playing jazz and the role of the rhythm section in a jazz band. They then decide on playing Airmail Special.

Benny Goodman also refers to Airmail Special as Good Enough To Keep. I suppose there is a story behind those names, does anybody have more info about that?

The other musicians are Clark Terry (trumpet), Zoot Sims (saxophone), Ed Shaughnessy (drums), Hank Jones (piano), Gene Bertoncini (guitar) and Milt Hinton on bass.

Some of the things they say can be applied at dancing as well, for example Ed Shaughnessy says: "Even when I play simple things, I try do do it with feeling". I belive that often you don't have to do very fancy moves, you can have a fantastic dance just by doing basic stuff with feeling.

I think that the leader in a dance couple is similar to the rhythm section in a band, the leader provides the pulse and basic structure and upon that the follower can improvise.

A band got to have a good rhythm section if they are going to be great, I have several examples of bands that have very good soloists that plays the melody, but the drummer plays in a mechanical way without feeling and that destroys the tune once you notice that.

What do you think of the video clips with Benny Goodman talking about jazz improvisation? Tell me.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

What is so interesting about dances from 1961?

The last couple of days many people have arrived at my blog while searching for "dances from 1961" or "dance of 1961".

It can't be a coincidence, something is happening, but I don't know what, do you? Tell me.

Most people found the list of dances included in the book Social Dancing in America: A History and Reference Volume 2 Lindy Hop to Hip Hop, 1901-2000 that I listed here in the interview with author Ralph G. Giordano.

Is it a new tv series that has started or are people really interested in dances like The Fish, The Pachanga, The Watusi or The Twist?

Tell me what's going on.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Let's Call The Whole Thing Off from the movie Shall We Dance

Often at swing dances you hear "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off" performed by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, but I think it's good to sometimes trace the song back to its orgin.

"Let's Call The Whole Thing Off" was written for the movie Shall We Dance from 1937 with lyrics by Ira Gershwin and music by George Gershwin. In the video clip above you see Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire dance to the song on roller skates.

When you see the film, the song's introduction makes much more sense than it does when played "stand alone", that's why I most times cut the intro and start playing at "You say either, I say either".

By the way, don't confuse this movie with Shall We Dance from 2004 starring Jennifer Lopez, Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon or the original Japanese version of Shall We Dance (1997) which people say is the better one (I haven't seen the latter).

What do think of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire dancing to "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off"? Tell me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hey Mr Jesse: January 2008

The third year of the podcast Hey Mr Jesse starts out great, normally the show is about 60 min long, this time it is 80 min, packed with good swinging music. See the show notes for Hey Mr Jesse January 2008 for all the details.

Download the January show of Hey Mr Jesse (mp3, 55 MB)

Jesse Miner does a tribute count down of Oscar Peterson songs, since Oscar Peterson passed away last month.

He does an interview with Pete Petersen from The Pete Petersen & The Porkpie Septet. It's great to hear that there are new swing songs being written as well as new arrangements of jazz standards.

Jesse & Manu also kindly features some of my comments and tips:

First, there is the great music video with Ondrej Havelka and his Melody Makers playing Beat Me Daddy Eight To the Bar.

When they talked about street band last podcast I had to plug my favorite street jazz band: The Lost Wandering Blues & Jazz Band.

Here is a video clip with The Lost Wandering Blues & Jazz Band playing Tilly Brown that I haven't seen before. This is totally their style of music (but I prefer an acustic guitar).

At last, they also talk about Bernard Berkhout, the band leader of 4beat6, that I tipped them of in the last episode. Here is a video clip with 4beat6 playing Airmail Special at a concert.

See what I wrote about previous Hey Mr Jesse shows.

What do you think of the January 2008 podcast of Hey Mr Jesse? Tell me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Cats Corner - Season premiere

Swing dancing at Cats corner at Uplands nation in Uppsala. Copyright: Henrik Eriksson. The photo may not be used elsewhere without my permission.
Our weekly dance in Uppsala, Cats Corner, starts the spring season tonight. The club is located at Uplands nation. The dance is between 20 and 23 and costs 20 kr.

We will start of softly with a joint venture between me and Jonas Pettersson choosing the music for your dancing and listening pleasure.

I've found lots of great swing music during Christmas and will present a small portion of it tonight.


The photo is taken by me and may not be published elsewhere without my permission. Contact me if you want to license it.

Do you have any ideas what we could do to make Cats Corner even better and extra special this season? Tell me.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Sweet Emma & The Mood Swingers: Photos from Katalin

Anders Söderberg (vocals, harmonica), Emma Sannervik (bass), Magnus Ottner (guitar). Sweet Emma & The Mood Swingers. Copyright: Henrik Eriksson. The photo may not be used elsewhere without my permission.

A week ago I saw the rhythm & blues band Sweet Emma & The Mood Swingers at Katalin & All That Jazz in Uppsala.

They had good solid energy as always. You can depend on that. After being used to hearing Jimmy Witherspoons version of Good Rockin' Tonight, it's refreshing to hear the band's arrangement of the song.

One girl on the dance floor reminded me of a song by Candye Kane: "Crazy Little Thing".

Anders Söderberg (vocals, harmonica). Sweet Emma & The Mood Swingers. Copyright: Henrik Eriksson. The photo may not be used elsewhere without my permission.

According to Sweet Emma's website they will record some tunes during the spring and I look forward to their next album. In the mean time you can support the band by buying their first cd: "More".

The photos are taken by me and may not be published elsewhere without my permission. Contact me if you want to license it.

What do think of Sweet Emma & The Mood Swingers? Tell me.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Blue Vipers of Brooklyn - radio interview and Subway Idol

The street jazz band The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn were featured in the december podcast of Hey Mr Jesse.

Now I found an interview with the band on the New York radio show Soundcheck on WNYC. Listen to the interview:

It's cool that lindy hop and balboa are mentioned in the interview.

The band also have won The Subway Idol contest on The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet. Take a look at The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn on The Morning Show.

I would like to have their latest cd "Forty Days And Forty Nights" (available at

What do you think of the The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn? Tell me.

[Via Yehoodi]

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Mills Brothers sampled in Bathtime in Clerkenwell

I first heard the song "Bathtime in Clerkenwell" by The Real Tuesday Weld a couple of years ago in a commercial on tv and it was Per Starbäck who identified it for me. I then discovered that the scatting vocals in the song are sampled from the song "Sweeter than sugar" recorded by the Mills Brothers on September 12th 1934.

You can find the song "Sweeter than sugar" on The Mills Brothers Vol 2 from the label Giants of Jazz.

The video clip with Bathtime in Clerkenwell (found on the album "I, Lucifer") is quite surrealistic, but I think it's very nicely done.

What do you think of the music video for "Bathtime in Clerkenwell" by The Real Tuesday Weld? Tell me.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Three Little Bops

I want to wish you happy new year with this cartoon about The Three Little Bops and The Big Bad Wolf. Here is a new version of the tale of the three little pigs with music by Shorty Rogers.

I think the Big Bad Wolf looks hilarious when he sneaks into the joint playing the song Charleston on his ukelele.

What do you think of the cartoon with the Three Little Bops? Tell me.