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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:36 pm 
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When listening to the Fargo concert the other day, I was struck by the variance of the tempo. Take a look at the list below. So many ballads, and the tempo jumps up and down quite dramatically. Would you dare to play a set with this tempo profile?

It's Glory 233
The Mooche 91
The Sheik Of Araby 226
Sepia Panorama 85
Ko Ko 196
There Shall Be No Night 106
Pussy Willow 158
Chatterbox 202
Mood Indigo 68
Harlem Airshaft 193
Ferryboat Serenade 191
Warm Valley 78
Stompy Jones 217
Chloe 105
Bojangles 167
On The Air 170
Rumpus In Richmond 179
Chaser
The Sidewalks Of New York 151
The Flaming Sword 224
Never No Lament 95
Caravan 221
Clarinet Lament 91
Slap Happy 190
Sepia Panorama 91
Boy Meets Horn 87
Way Down Yonder In New Orleans 227
Oh Babe, Maybe Someday 229
Five O'Clock Whistle 163
Fanfare
Call Of The Canyon 91
Rockin' In Rhythm 193
Sophisticated Lady 92
Cotton Tail 257
Whispering Grass 76
Conga Brava 224
I Never Felt This Way Before 89
Across The Track Blue 96
Honeysuckle Rose 156
Wham 233
Star Dust 82
Rose Of The Rio Grande 209
St. Louis Blues 224
Warm Valley 75
God Bless America


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:03 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 3:26 pm
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Location: menlo park
anton wrote:
When listening to the Fargo concert the other day, I was struck by the variance of the tempo. Take a look at the list below. So many ballads, and the tempo jumps up and down quite dramatically. Would you dare to play a set with this tempo profile?


Hell no. :o) Fargo wasn't a dance, though, was it? It was a sit-down concert, I think. The other thing is that at dances, people would dance more than just lindy hop. They would do The Walk/Peabody/One Step or "Ballroomin'"--if you play or DJ for such a crowd, you can use a wider tempo range.

On a similar note, I've been looking at Savoy Ballroom wires lately. The range and jumps in tempo are large there, too. Two examples:

Basie, 1937-6-30:
Moten Swing (lots of radio voice over) 184
Shout and Feel It 240
The You and Me That Used to Be 154
The Count Steps In 240
They Can't Take That away from Me 91
I'll Always Be in Love with You 175
When My Dreamboat Comes Home 181
Swing! Brother Swing! (live) 154
Bugle Blues 210
I Got Rhythm 252

Ella 1940-1-22:
Opening Theme: A-Tisket, A-Tasket
Traffic Jam 308
A Lover Is Blue 85
Dodging the Dean 186
'Tain't What You Do 179
I'm Confessin' 80
Blue Lou 191
What's the Matter with Me 91
I Want the Waiter (with the Water) 131
Closing Theme: Let's Get Together

308! What the hell did they dance to that? I mean, yeah, I know Frankie and friends could swing out at that tempo, and if they had a choreo they could dance a pleasing routine, but I refuse to believe anyone else in the ballroom could do anything resembling lindy at that tempo, let alone for a full song. Would everyone crowd around the band stand and cheer and stare in awe? Did Whitey's LH actually do a performance during that number?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:30 pm 
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I agree with Lipi - I think the Fargo concert was more of a sit-down affair than a dance. And even the Savoy ballroom broadcasts might have had a lot of people watching the band rather than dancing I think. You know how it is when there is a mixed crowd of non-dancers and dancers at a band concert? Maybe some of the really popular bands at the Savoy were a bit like that, particularly when it became really popular in the late 30s and 40s. The Savoy management would have wanted to pack in as many people as possible I am guessing, perhaps making room for the dancers in one part of the dance hall.

To answer Anton's question, I wouldn't play that pattern of tempos at a dance :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:59 am 
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lipi wrote:
t
Traffic Jam 308

308! What the hell did they dance to that? I mean, yeah, I know Frankie and friends could swing out at that tempo, and if they had a choreo they could dance a pleasing routine, but I refuse to believe anyone else in the ballroom could do anything resembling lindy at that tempo, let alone for a full song. Would everyone crowd around the band stand and cheer and stare in awe? Did Whitey's LH actually do a performance during that number?


According to George Reed, who danced at the Savoy in the 40s, a lot of the better dancers would often dance half-time to the faster songs.


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