Favorite Swing Pieces?

Discussion in 'Radio' started by IndianaGuybrush, Feb 22, 2005.

  1. swinggal

    swinggal One Too Many

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    For sure!! Very early 40s swing is where that 'feel' really ended it think. 30's swing has a feel like nothing else, it was 'original' and real at that point. Became a little schmaltzy later on when everyone was playing it.

    Here is a quote form Duke Ellington that I love:

    "It is the repetition and monotony of the present Swing arrangements which bode ill for the future. Once again it is proven that when the artistic point of view gains commercial standing, artistry itself bows out, leaving inspiration to die a slow death." -- Duke Ellington, Downbeat, Feb. 1939

    Funny how people who aren't into JAzz/Swing or dancing think 'Glenn Miller' when they think of swing. Glenn Miller is one of the 'least' played artists for dancing and rightly so. His music not not inpsire me to dance.
     
  2. Vladimir Berkov

    Vladimir Berkov One Too Many

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    Swinggal, I am only a novice dancer but I do listen to a lot of swing music. Somehow Glenn Miller's sounds just seems "flat" to me. It is hard to pin down, it is sort of too harsh, too brassy all the time.

    Someone Glenn Miller has become the swing archetype. And seriously, there are only so many times you can listen to "In the Mood" or "Moonlight Serenade" being played whenever period music is called for until you go insane!
     
  3. swinggal

    swinggal One Too Many

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    Yes, which is what I was saying above. Glenn Miller does no inspire me to want to Lindy Hop at all. Give me Basie, the Duke or Chick Webb any day.
     
  4. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    WOA! Hold the cotton picking phone boys and girls!!! Now a word in defense for the poor band leader...

    Don't come down on Miller kids! Let me tell you what Miller is to me and most Americans I know.

    Miller's music is not, I repeat, NOT HARSH! To me some of the early stuff is harsh sounding compared to the later songs of the 40's which seem to flow and are more polished. His sound is inspirational to me and it's something that I can't explain. The sweet sound of those saxes wit the famous clarinet lead is very nostalgic. Yes, "In the Mood" and some of the other top songs of his have been played out to the point that makes any one want to choke I agree on that score. But what I find is that for those who don't explore the other songs he recorded are just shutting the door on a beautiful experience!!!

    Ever hear of a song called Long Time No See Baby or his treatment of Anvil Cores? Oh man, let me tell you, he had some great players in his band and it showed. How about Glenn Island Special, Boom shot, or Kiss Polka? Those songs are really keen and not to be ignored. When I started to get into the big band sound, when I heard Moonlight Serenade for the first time, it almost made me cry. That sound was so beautiful and it spoke to me. I still hold it as a favorite song also because of many veterans who I have talked to who remember seeing and hearing him play that song live and finding out they met their love at the same dance. The Miller Band has a very rocky history and I have done some research on it. He just wanted to discover the sound he was looking for. He found it and when it first made its début, it caught on like wild fire.

    For most Jazz music fans, Miller is looked at as a sappy, commercial, sweet bore for one reason, of his fame and reaching such a high place in the industry at that time. The story of him in the AAF with his band is really something and the fact that he disappeared over the English Channel December 14th 1944 also put in effect a mystery and sadness of a man who was at the height of his career which contributes to his lasting fame.

    I will not call Miller a Jazz musician, but, a man who played HIS sound and made it work.

    Buy a CD of some of his not so common work and you may find that it's not so bad. You may even find out that it's good music.

    Root.

    PS. I love all Jazz from the 20's to the late 40's. I am a Miller fan because, I have heard most of his 260 + songs he recorded. Not just the 5 top songs every one plays over and over. If any of you guys can tell me where this photo was taken I'll be surprised.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. swinggal

    swinggal One Too Many

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    Sigh....I have many Miller CDs too, and I do like his early stuff. But I like him to listen too. There is no one band from the swing era that I dislike.

    We were talking about dancing. I'm not trashing Miller at all. I just don't like to dance to his 'hits'. I don't find him sappy either.
     
  6. Vladimir Berkov

    Vladimir Berkov One Too Many

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    Believe me, I am not one of those jazz snobs who hates any band which was actually successful. For instance, I am a big Paul Whiteman fan. And if you think being a Glenn Miller fan is hard, try being a Paul Whiteman fan.

    My problem with Miller is not that I think he had a bad band, he certainly had talented musicians and was an accomplished bandleader. And there are songs of his I do like. But I don't really like a lot of the arrangements he used, or a lot of the songs he recorded. Plus, his band was heavy on what I might call "novelty vocals" and also on female/male backup singer groups. Both of those things I don't particularly care for. Plus from what I have heard Miller didn't care all that much for "standards" as Goodman did. The instances I have heard where Miller has done an interpretation on a jazz standard often sound strange to me. This is probably why his band is best known for his own distinctive songs.

    I just listened to several of the songs you mentioned like Glen Island Special and the Anvil Chorus, but to me they all just sound like Glenn Miller tunes.

    How we respond to music is very subjective, and to me Glenn's sound just isn't my cup of tea. If I were more knowledgeable about composition and big band arranging I could probably explain it better.
     
  7. swinggal

    swinggal One Too Many

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    What I love as a Swing DJ is having numerous versions of the same songs by different artists of the time. I have over 3000 tunes on my laptop alone and listening to the subtle (and sometimes HUGE) differences in the way a band plays the same piece is great.

    For instance, I have at least 12 versions of 'Moten Swing' and they are all so different in really nice ways. I have many versions of 'Honeysuckle Rose' too. Swingin' up-tempo versions by Maxine Sullivan and Basie and slow sultry bluesy versions by Nina Simone and Harry James. There are very few songs that I only have one version of and it's so much fun to DJ didferent versions of a song on the same night and see people scratching their heads to try and work out the artist.
     
  8. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    I had a feeling you had a few CD’s Swinggal. ;)

    I'm sorry I may have implied that you didn’t have any kind of Miller library or didn’t enjoy his music to some extent. But when some one says that even some of his more up beat songs don’t inspire some one to dance sounds odd to me. Over here, we have very poor DJ’s at dances! So, when they pull a half decent Miller tune out of the books I jump for joy!

    Vladimir Berkov, I have to agree on one point that you made. In the WWII reenacting world, it’s getting pretty bad with the choice of music at USO dances. Once I was at a real fun dance. The band was great but after the band stopped for the night, they started playing CD’s. Well, my friends and I decided to go after hearing In the Digital Mood for the 3rd time in a row! When I first stated to listen to Big Band, I loved In The Mood, but that one song has been so over played that it’s just annoying.

    I for the record love the so called back up singers as you put it. They have a name, THE MODERNAIRES! I like the sound of Tex and Hutton singing with the smooth melodic sounds of the Modernaires in songs like Sweet Eloise, For People Like You and Me, Serenade in Blue and so on. Miller Did play a lot of novelty songs like Three Little Fishes and stuff but, so did most bands of the 20’s and 30’s too. those songs are kind of fun I think. For one thing, he took an 1800’s drinking song Little Brown Jug and made it swing. Maybe not swing like gate, but swing more then it originally did!

    I like the Miller sound because he is to me the sound of the 40’s and I really like the 40’s when I find some choose an earlier period.

    Like your self Berkov, I like Paul Whiteman too! I really like his recordings with Bing Crosby and the Rhythm Boys. Good skating in those records! You also mentioned that you like Goodman a lot! Well, before I became a Miller fan, I loved Goodman! I have some good songs of his like Bugle Call Rag, Some Times I’m Happy, I can’t Give you Any Thing But Love, Roll’em, Down South Camp Meeting and some of his Quartet and Sextet stuff like Memories Of you, Oh Lady Be Good, Flying Home, Avalon and the list goes on.

    For me, I started to like the 40’s music before I was introduced to the earlier stuff. I love the late 20’s Jazz and early 30’s swing recordings. Good stuff and I play them often! But, when I dance, I prefer Gene Krupa, Erskine Hawkins, Harry James and Goodman.

    I find it hard to smooth Lindy to a lot of the early stuff. I need to get with the program and learn some Balboa and Charleston!

    Some one here mentioned Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. I also like country swing! There is a band over here called the Lucky Stars and they are the best country swing band! They play a lot of Bob’s stuff and they even play on original 40’s instruments! All have matching western shirts and hats! Very good looking band! I think they may be on the web… http://www.southern.net/southern/band/LSTAR/IPC08_audio.html
    There is a RealOne player that you can click on and hear some of their stuff.

    [​IMG]

    Root.
     
  9. Kaela

    Kaela Vendor

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    I agree, Setzer is a little too modern sounding, I've got a special inclination to that fat italian Louis Prima, though, he's one of my favorites, good to dance to, too. And he's got a nice sound (older recordings as well as his later ones). His later recordings even have nice elements of Lounge, which make it more his style.

    Artie Shaw, I think is one good man to dance to.

    Anybody wanting to try something modern that is of the old style, Squirrel Nut Zippers is the BEST out there, in my opinion, to keep it fair. They've got such an authentic sound, it's older too, not rehashed-rehashed rockabilly, it's more 20s/30s sound, w/ violins & lovely vocals, the female singer sounds JUST like Billy Holiday, what a doll!
     
  10. Kaela

    Kaela Vendor

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    on Glenn Miller:

    Just a little peep about that Glenn Miller character..
    I do like a lot of his music, I listen to it often, but it does have a lot more of the "pop" elements that make music more broken down and easy to digest for the masses, he was smooth, simple melodies. This is nice sometimes, but I would care to dance to something more up-iddy.. for example, Artie Shaw, he'll hit notes all over, he'll reach you, you get it? I don't know, maybe it's comparing apples to oranges, take another fellow trombonist, Jimmy Dorsey's got more variations to his melody, it's less like a lullabye.
    I do remember one thing specifically, I played trombone in my high school jazz band, and asked who we ought to listen to to pick up style. My band teacher (a teacher by title only, he was laid back, one of the guys kind of man) he told me not to listen to Glenn Miller, at the time I was quite upset, I liked Glenn Miller, he was a name I knew and heard and I thought I was wrong, but it was just a different style, you see, we played the kind of thing you would dance to, the kind of songs you would feel excited to sit and watch, (God Bless the Child, one of my favorites!). Anyway, it was just because his style was more... I can't pin the word for it, but it was much more flavorless, processed almost, inhibited. Nice to listen to, but not as dance friendly.
    Now everybody kiss and make up, it's a style preference, like those who prefer 40s music vs. modern ---.
     
  11. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    Ok, I know you ALL have heard enough from the old fart on this score, but it just keeps me laughing to hear people say that Glenn’s stuff isn’t danceable. He was a dance band last time I checked. He packed all the dance halls a crossed the US and where ever he played for the troops over seas! He didn’t play hot jazz or swing, most who danced to him danced Foxtrot and such. Glenn miller made a sound that was not like most at the time. The “sound� he created became instantaneously recognizable to his band only. Many bands after Millers clime to fame in the early 40’s tried to copy that sound of the lead clarinet over the sax section but, you guys already know that. ;)

    I do agree on some points that have been made, don’t get me wrong it’s not like I knew the guy personally and we went to school together or anything like that it’s just that when I go to a swing dance, I like to dance to what was popular in say 1938 to 1946. I’m really into pop culture of the time frame when some I meet seem to go for the not so mainstream stuff from the 40’s which is perfectly cool with me. I’m into a lot of that my self and I love all the great Jazz music that came out of the 20’s through the 40’s. I was just listening to a great Coleman Hawkins CD I have that covers his stuff from 33 to 49 and I’ll tell you that stuff is just magic! What a sax player he was!!!

    When it comes right down to it, I like Miller because he was one of my first encounters with vintage dance bands of the 40’s and I have fond memories of listening to his songs when I was tired or down about what ever and then hearing say, “Indian Summer� or “At Last� I would feel good. Miller’s sound and arrangements are something I can listen to any time no matter how I feel.

    I totally agree that there are way better songs to Lindy, Shag or Bal too then Millers easy listening stuff. Funny fact about Miller, he was very insecure about his own trombone playing! He felt that Tommy and others had more talent to the horn then he did. Only his wife and close friends knew that.

    I also don’t get or understand how music teachers try and steer kids and people clear of Millers music. What are they afraid of? I have had some tough times with some of those bums that think they know every thing. It’s not their job to tell any one who to listen too so, nuts to them!

    Ok boys and girls, I’m done. The Miller book is closed and sealed.

    On to better and biger things!

    Root.
     
  12. swinggal

    swinggal One Too Many

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    The reason USO dances etc (and I have been to a few) play bad music is because they themselves aren't usually dancers and therefore don't know what was played at these big dances in the day. It certainly wasn't 'just' the 'generic stuff' that people think it was. There were a lot of other tunes besdies 'swing' played like Waltzes, Foxtrots, Quicksteps, Shags etc. People certainly didn't just dance 'the jitterbug' all the time. Not even the 'jitterbuggers' themselves. Everyone knew how to partner dance in many different styles before the 60s'. I was part of your schooling and popular culture. It stopped after than for a long time.

    Frankie Manning was a soldier in WW2 and will tell you the radios nationwide were pumping out Ellington, Basie, Hampton, Krupa, Webb etc as well as Shaw, Goodman and Miller. I have top ten listings from the 30's and 40's. Does not necessarily mean they are all great hits for 'swing dancing' but they may have still been considered 'dance songs' for other styles of dance.

    1938
    1. A-Tisket, A-Tasket-Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb
    2. My Reverie-Larry Clinton
    3. Ti-Pi-Tin-Hoarce Heidt
    4. Music, Maestro,Please-Tommy Dorsey
    5. Begin the Beguine-Artie Shaw
    6. Don't Be That Way-Benny Goodman
    7. Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen- Andrews Sisters
    8. Cry, Baby, Cry-Larry Clinton
    9. Thanks for the Memory-Shep Fields
    10. I've Got a Pocketful of Dreams-Bing Crosby (also Russ Morgan)
     
  13. swinggal

    swinggal One Too Many

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    Wild Root, check out some of these guys if you haven't already:

    The Savoy Sultans
    Andy Kirk and his Clouds of Joy
    Stan Kenton
    Bunny Berrigan
    Les Brown
    Mildred Bailey
    Roy Eldridge

    Coleman Hawkins is great! I play Bean Soup a lot.
     
  14. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    Hey swinggal, I'm familiar with those names you mentioned. I Love Chic Webb! When I started to listen to big band and early swing on the radio here in Pasadena (In 1994 to 1999 when such music was on FM) the Pasadena city collage would broadcast classic American Music from the 20's to the 50's from 9 to 3 every day. I remember recording one song. It was so cool and I listened to it all the time. Well, one day I wanted to fill up one side of that tape and as I did, some how the tape flipped over and started to record on to that song I loved! I cried!!! I didn't know who played it, the name of the song and so on. Finally, years later I played it for a guy who really knew his stuff. He made me a new tape with that song on it. Told me it was called "Strictly Jive" by Chick Webb. So, I went out and bough a Webb CD.

    I have a nice 78rpm collection and I have a few Berigan top hits like "My Little Cousin" and some others. I also have some Guy Lombardo, Gorge Hall and have you ever heard of Emery Deutsch? That guy had some great records! I have only two of his 78's and I find that there is NO CD's out that has any of his work. Talk about a big time bummer.

    I have CD's of Ellington, Berigan, Whiteman, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, I like Less Brown, Alveno Ray, Erskine Hawkins, Benny Goodman, McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, Slam Stewart, Luis Jordan, Luis Armstrong, Red Nichols, Key Kyser, and the list goes on. I have been a vintage music buff since 1994 and I have been buying CD's and 78's for about that long.

    I find that only a few of the songs made by all of the bands that existed played songs that one can listen too. These bands were all known as "Dance Bands" so there fore, no matter what tempo or style, there was a dance that could be done to it.

    Swinggal, if you were to come up to CA and check out the swing kids over here, you would more then likely cry. Most of the junk played here isn't really true swing music at all. There is one place that plays 70's and 80's stuff and it's just BAD! Talk about music that's not danceable. So, that's one reason why when you mentioned Glenn Miller's songs not being Danceable I had to protest knowing what was being played over here in most dance halls. I know some one (Won’t mention any names) but he likes to Lindy to ANY THING. 80's hits he likes.

    Take care,

    Root
     
  15. swinggal

    swinggal One Too Many

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    Yeah, pity considering one of the foremost authorities on Jazz and the swing era is Peter Loggins (LA) whonow lectures on this subject at University. There are some of the best teachers in the world in LA, I wonder why the music has gone to pot. Are you in LA WR? Our scene here has been around since late 98 and the music just gets better not worse. Same with Melbourne which has the biggest swing scene in the southern hemisphere.

    Around 6/7 years ago the scene in LA was great. All the people who were in the early scene dressed up (Peter - still does, Eric and Sylvia, Rusty Frank - still does, Lisa Fergusson, Hilary, Tip and Holly etc) and they know their music. Camp Hollywood was a 'vintage looking' camp in it's early days. Everyone made an effort to dress vintage, now I have heard hardly anyone does. It's a shame.
     
  16. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    Swinggal, you just mentioned people I know very well. Eric and Sylvia don't really dress up any more. Peter did wear a lot of great vintage back in the day. He puts it on when there is a good dance to hit up now and then.

    Tip and Holly split up a year or so ago. I see Tip once in a wile. He doesn’t come out much any more. I saw Sylvia last Tuesday and she really looked different.

    Hillary I see a lot. She sure goes out all the way when she sings with Jonathan Stout's Campus Five who is now a member of the Lounge.

    Monrovia is very close to LA and Hollywood. I live just east of there and I used to hang out at the Derby a lot in 1999 to 2001. I started to dance and go to Camp Catalina in 1997. Did you ever make it up to Camp Catalina that PBDA puts on? If you know all these friends of mine I think that you might have been up here from time to time.

    Any way, there are two clubs I go to that play good music. Sugar Foot Stomp is good, also Paladeno's that Kim and Dave run is very good. Lindy Groove I will not touch with a ten foot pole. They play the worst music in the world to dance to! Even the bands they hire are really bad elevator cover bands.

    I used to go to Camp Hollywood when it was at the Hollywood Palladium! Last time I went to C.H. it was in 2000 when it was last at the Palladium. I don't want to go to the new place next to LAX. Camp Airport I call it.

    Any way, tell me more of where you have been to dance up here in CA!

    Root.
     
  17. swinggal

    swinggal One Too Many

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    Peter came here for Hullabaloo last year as did Lisa. Rusty Frank I know pretty well. She loves Perth and has been here twice now. She just loves the weather and the lifestyle. Always buys heaps of vintage clothes when she comes. I knew Tip and Holly split. They were the reason I was going to MLX 2003 (Melbourne Lindy Exchange)...they pulled out the week before.

    I also know Chandler Smith pretty well. He came out here in 200o and we kept in touch. He was a vintage collector and has an Airflow but moved to Texas last year which was a shame. He had a lot to do with the original Camp Hollywood guys and was a friend of Bill Elliott, hes the 'Chandler' in Bill's song, "Mildred, won't you behave."

    Sad to hear that things have gone to pot music wise. I don't undestand that. LA has such a great scene. We play a few novelty songs for fun sometime, but if it doesnt swing, its not going to be on my list. About as novelty as I get is, Swingin' Safari' by Bert Kamfert, which is always good fun.

    I have 2 Campus 5 Cd's and they are not too bad.
     
  18. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    I know Chandler Smith! I also had a few rides in the 36 Airflow! That car is really sweet.

    You really seem to be hep on what's going on over here!

    Some tmies Peter will DJ at some of these clubs. When he does, it's geat stuff! All the best music comes out and it's always a blast.

    Root.
     
  19. swinggal

    swinggal One Too Many

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    Yes, the world of swing dancing and vintage fashion lovers is small one indeed.
     
  20. swinggal

    swinggal One Too Many

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    Yes, the world of swing dancing and vintage fashion lovers is small one indeed.
     

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