Benny Goodman might have been the King of Swing, but Artie Shaw was dubbed the King of the Clarinet.
In light of the severe beating that Chick Webb and Django Reinhardt took this year at the ABW Battle of the Bands, I thought I would list out 12 great Artie Shaw recordings for those who might be new to his sound, or just don’t know what songs to request from your local DJ when you need your Shaw fix.
This was my first year at the Experiment, and I had a blast! I was invited out for one week, starting in the middle of the first week and ending the middle of the second week. David Rehm had asked me to present on a few topics: music history and DJing, as well as being a staff DJ for the evening festivities. Aside from the gnarly flu-like thing that I got my last few days at the Experiment, I had a wonderful time.
The students, staff, instructors and food were outstanding. The evening dancing was top notch, and the music was incredible (even excluding my own personal music). David puts on a top notch camp!
Just when you thought you have heard the complete history of the lindy hop, you find out that there is some undiscovered stories. The Onion did some great research into the history of the lindy hop and found a few gems that I never knew were true. Check out the video below for the recently discovered history.
Another great year at EBC. Awesome competitions, great bands and always kick ass dancing. Following the great response to my ABW competition list, I am excited to post the complete competition list for EBC 2010. This time around, I decided to make it even easier for everyone to buy this great music by including Amazon links for every song (when available). Enjoy the list!
DJs tend to play the part of the band at the majority of dance events, and DJ’s music selection really can affect how a dance community flourishes. The song selection, variety and tempo of music each DJ chooses shapes a dance evening. Fortunately, in the swing community most often the DJ is also a dancer, giving them the advantage of knowing which kind of songs are ‘danceable.’ But being a good DJ and creating an enjoyable dance evening is about more than just playing songs the dancers enjoy.
In 1938, Benny Goodman led one of the most popular musical groups in America. The concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City that year is described by critic Bruce Eder as “the single most important jazz or popular music concert in history: jazz’s ‘coming out’ party to the world of ‘respectable’ music”. It crowned Benny Goodman as the ‘King of Swing,’ and solidified his position in the annuls of history as one of the most important and influential musicians in history.
Learning Balboa can be a challenging task. Trying to learn Balboa while dancing to a complicated song can make things even more difficult. And it’s more than just the tempo of a song. Easy rhythms, simple song structure, and repetition can all make dancing that much simpler. It doesn’t mean that the music is completely void of interest, rather the song assists you in your learning process, rather than confuse you. Below are 5 of my favorite beginner balboa tunes.
Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho – Sidney Bechet
Central Avenue Shuffle – Ozzie Nelson and His Orchestra
At The Clambake Carnival – Cab Calloway
A Viper’s Moan – Mora’s Modern Rhythmists
Community Swing – Glenn Miller
Learning balboa? What songs do you like to dance to?
This will be my first year at Lindy Focus, and I couldn’t be more excited! I was invited out to give a couple of my talks, be the Competition Music Coordinator, and be apart of the great DJ squad. This event is in their 8th year, and this year looks phenomenal. They sold out pre-sale tickets in under 3 minutes, wow! I know it’s not the usual event for me these days (that whole Balboa thing), being a Lindy Hop event and all. BUT, from what I have been reading online about the event, they work very hard to integrate all forms of swing dancing, and provide top instruction from around the world, and it sounds AWESOME.
I am really excited to see the Killer Dillers perform (the routine they did at ILHC was amazing), see The Boilermakers perform and check out some of that fine dancing from the easy coast peeps. And best of all, my wife is going to make the trip as well. That’s two trips to North Carolina in the same year!
See you all there!
Hey everyone! EBC 2009 is coming up, and I just wanted to let you know, for the first time in the 5 year history of the event, my wife will be joining me on the trip, and I couldn’t be more excited. This will be her first time to North Carolina and EBC.
- Her first EBC
- Her first BBQ Monday
- and of course, the first time meeting the North Carolineans I have grown so fondly of in the past five years.
I know she’s gonna have a blast! I can’t wait myself. From what I have heard through the grapevine, the recession will not have an impact on all the fun that EBC is.
I’ll be there, of couse, DJing, giving my talk, and causing a general raucous.
We’ll see you there.
An 11 year study of balboa music has just concluded and the Top 20 balboa songs of all time have been determined. The study, conducted by the Music department at MIT in conjunction with the BioInformatics group at Oxford University, has been a long time coming. For years, the debates have raged on. Finally, we can put an end to all the bloodshed.
And if you believe that non-sense, I have some beach front property in Kansas I’d like to sell you.
So what is this list exactly? Every year at All Balboa Weekend I give a talk. The first few years the talks revolved around the history of swing music. Pertaining mostly to entertaining stories and anecdotes, I would give presentations that included video and photos of the great swing musicians of the big band era; Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Django Reinhardt and the like.
This year, I wanted to do something different, shake things up a bit, and thus the Top 20 idea was born. This list, not complete by any means, is a list of great balboa songs, songs that I personally love to dance balboa to. Casa Loma Stomp, has amazing sound quality for the tempo that it clocks in at (336bpm). Sweet Georgia Brown by Benny Goodman, one word: vibes. Jamaica Jam by Teddy Powell is an excellent song for hearing the “shuffle shuffle hold shuffle” rhythm in balboa.
Now, keep in mind, this isn’t a list that should be considered mandatory for all balboa events. If you look at #2, you might ask “That’s a balboa song?”. This is my top 20 list of balboa songs, and being that I’ve been DJing balboa for years, I have a love and a passion for the music, and I think these songs are the best of the best.
I’ve included the song title and artist, but not not the album name, nor a link to a website where you can find the song. I don’t want you to just go out and blindly buy a CD, or pick up some random song on iTunes, so I’ve given you artist and song title, but after that, it’s up to you. Because, in your search who knows what great versions you might find.
If you would like to hear the entire talk, pick up an ABW 2009 dvd and you can get the inside scoop on all 20 songs.
Without further ado, my Top 20 Balboa picks of all time:
- Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho SidneyBechet
- Rockin In Rhythm Duke Ellington
- Casa Loma Stomp Casa Loma Orchestra
- Lafayette Hot Lips Page
- Troubled Frankie Traumbauer
- Minor Swing Django Reinhardt
- Harlem Jump Jack Teagarden
- Dark Eyes Jonathan Stout
- Chimes At The Meeting Willie Bryant
- Honeysuckle Rose Mora’s Modern Rhythmists
- Special Delivery Stomp Artie Shaw
- Caprice Paganini XXVI Benny Goodman
- Carioca Artie Shaw
- Sweet Georgia Brown Benny Goodman
- Swingin In The Promised Land Edgar Hayes
- Rigamarole Willie Bryant
- Jamaica Jam Teddy Powell
- Ochi Chornya Wingy Manone
- St. Louis Blues Benny Goodman
- Jumpin At The Woodside Count Basie
Camp Hollywood and the National Jitterbug Championships is right around the corner; July 30 – Aug 2. For me it has been 11 years of Camp Hollywood, and I could not be more excited. Camp Hollywood is one of those events that you cannot miss. Hundreds of swing dancers falling upon Los Angeles showcasing the true spirit of swing dancing.
Four days of classes, competition, live bands and dancing ’til 6am. And once again, I will be DJing this great event. I am fortunate enough to be able to DJ for one of my favorite bands, the Jonathan Stout Orchestra. Stick around after the band, I’m DJing until 2am.
This year is also the year they induct more members into the Camp Hollywood Hall Of Fame. A great way to say thank you to those people who have been critical in the development, expansion and excitement that makes Camp Hollywood so great. Congratulations to all those inducted this year.
This one album might have been played more than any single artist at All Balboa Weekend, 2009; even Benny Goodman!
As much as I would like to officially call it “The band formerly known as the Chick Webb Orchestra, featuring Ella Fitzgerald on background vocals”, you would be unable to find such a CD available for purchase. But if you look for “Ella Fitzgerald and her Famous Orchestra; Live at the Savoy”, and you will find one of the best albums ever pressed.
The recording comes in that awkward space immediately following Chick’s passing, and before Ella went out on her own. Personally for me, I find this album to contain some of the best swing recordings ever, despite critics of Ella AHO at the time who said that “her” band just wasn’t that good. This has turned out to be one of the best purchases I have ever made.
The sound quality alone is top notch. You might not even recognize at first that this is a live recording from the Savoy.
Favorite tracks? Easy:
- Sugarfoot Stomp
- Everybody Rock
- In The Groove (At The Grove)
For those in the Pasadena, CA area, I would check out Canterbury Records. My favorite record store in the country. For those NOT in Southern California, you can try emusic.com (they have it for sure), or if you arent into digital downloads, amazon didnt have it when i searched for it, if you find it online anywhere else, let me know.