Old Stuff for a Modernist Crowd

Everything about the swinging music we love to DJ

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yedancer
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#16 Post by yedancer » Tue Aug 05, 2003 11:57 am

I guess it's just me then. I find him so annoying. His voice just bugs me.
-Jeremy

It's easy to sit there and say you'd like to have more money. And I guess that's what I like about it. It's easy. Just sitting there, rocking back and forth, wanting that money.

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#17 Post by julius » Tue Aug 05, 2003 12:08 pm

Lawrence wrote: No, I'm talking pre-swing traditional jazz with a 2-beat feel that did not use a swing rhythm and used a Tuba as the main element of the rhythm section. Polka rhythm is in triplets.
OK, whatever, I didn't hear the song. Also, not to be anal (ok, I'll be anal) I'm pretty sure polka music is 2/4 rhythm. Play that one Andrews Sisters song. I think the dance uses triple steps though.
But I'm referring to polka music.

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Swifty
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#18 Post by Swifty » Tue Aug 05, 2003 12:39 pm

Polka is defined as a vivacious couple dance of Bohemian origin in duple time was a basic pattern of hop-step-close-step; a lively Bohemian dance tune in 2/4 time.

- History of Polka

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JesseMiner
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Re: Old Stuff for a Modernist Crowd

#19 Post by JesseMiner » Tue Aug 05, 2003 2:17 pm

Getting back the initial questions in this thread:
KevinSchaper wrote:for anybody who wants to play swing-era stuff in a mostly post-swing-era scene, what're are good baby-step kinda songs?
A few tips:

1. Slowly introduce songs - Work new swing-era songs into your set just like you would with any new and unfamiliar material. You'll probably want to start with fairly big "hits" and then slowly work up to more obscure tracks. Avoid overwhelming dancers who a whole set of unfamiliar music. Stick with the greats and you can't go wrong: Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Chick Webb, Jimmie Lunceford, etc...

2. Play some bridge material - 50s or even modern recordings done in the classic swing style and early jump blues/r'n'b tunes which have an older sounding quality work well. Modern bands like Eddie Reed, Bill Elliott, Swing Session, and LCJO. Jump artists like Wynonie Harris, Louis Jordan and Buddy Johnson. Many of these we're been playing for years, so we're already off to a good start on the transition.

3. High-quality token songs - Find the hits for swing-era lovers. Understand what songs they love dancing to (a request for a fast swing tune is probably not looking for Oscar Peterson doing "C-Jam Blues"). Be sure to mix those in. That will help to make the classic swing lovers happy and be on your side as you're slowly transitioning to more swing-era music.

4. Vary the tempos - Show dancers that swing-era music isn't all fast. It has all sorts of feels and tempos. Mix it up. Crowds that are used to slower swinging music will probably be more receptive to the slower classic tracks at first.

I've introduced a great deal more swing-era material into my sets over the past few years as I've seen a need for it. Following the above suggestions, I've been able to mix in some great tunes for those who love swing-era music and ease others into having a greater appreciation for it as well.

Some bridge song suggestions:

Streamliner - Bill Elliott (Calling All Jitterbugs)
Boogie Blues - Eddie Reed (Hollywood Jump)
A Viper's Moan - Mora's Modern Rhythmists (Call Of The Freaks)
For Dancers Only - Billy May (Oscillatin' Rhythm)
Two O'Clock Jump - Harry James (Trumpet Blues)
Don't Be That Way - Jess Stacy (A Tribute To Benny Goodman)
Oh Babe - Wynonie Harris (Bloodshot Eyes)
The Walking Blues - Fluffy Hunter (Risque Rhythm)
Shufflin' and Rollin' - Buddy Johnson (Walk 'Em)
As Long As I'm Movin' - Ruth Brown (Miss Rhythm)

Some great swing-era tracks to start with:

Gang Busters - The Cats & The Fiddle (Killin' Jive)
Here We Go Again - Glenn Miller (Rare Broadcast Performances From 1943-1944)
Lindyhoppers' Delight - Chick Webb (Strictly Jive)
Shorty George - Count Basie (Complete Decca Recordings)
Blues In The Groove - Jimmie Lunceford (Lunceford Special)
Apollo Jumps - Lucky Millinder (Apollo Jumps)
Jumpin' At The Savoy - Al Cooper (1938-1941)
In A Mellowtone - Duke Ellington (The Blanton-Webster Band)
Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Lionel Hampton (Hamp: The Legendary Decca Recordings)
Back Bay Shuffle - Artie Shaw (Begin the Beguine)

Now that I think about it, pretty much all of the above albums are great to pick up if you're wanting to start transitioning over to playing more swing-era music. This is by no means a comprehensive list but definitely a solid start.
KevinSchaper wrote:Does it work better to work in blocks of stuff from the same era or jump back and forth?
I try to work in blocks, easing from one style to another. At first these blocks might be short and infrequent. Given time, these blocks grow larger and more frequent throughout the night. This has been very successful for me.

Jesse

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Lawrence
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#20 Post by Lawrence » Tue Aug 05, 2003 10:41 pm

I agree with Jesse's treatise. 8) The only thing to add is to realize that there will be some people who will find it difficult (or perhaps never be able) to hear through the lo-fi sound quality or be able to fully recognize the beat, making segues into brief mini-sets even more important.

Rushing is an acquired taste and perhaps deserves a thread of his own. I like a lot of his stuff, but I know exactly what annoys some people and feel the same way at times. One way to opening the appreciation is to consider how he somewhat skates the line between singing and talking. His vocal phrasing is very talkative and uncrooner-like, so don't judge it like you would a crooner. He also virtually invented the "Blues Shouter" style of singing.
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http://www.AustinLindy.com

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djstarr
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#21 Post by djstarr » Wed Aug 06, 2003 12:32 am

main_stem wrote: Seattle loves a mix of good swinging jazz music. Assumeing one way or the other handicaps a DJ. Yes there are certain venues here geared in specific ways, but by no means does that mean the whole of Seattle is one way or the other.
agreed - well said.
main_stem wrote:Brenda as a new DJ yourself I hope you will pay attention to all these posts about new DJs.
I'm reading the thread aren't I? I guess time will tell whether I'm actually paying attention! And yes, these posts are quite instructional, maybe this forum should be required reading before giving anyone a set to spin :D

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djstarr
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#22 Post by djstarr » Wed Aug 06, 2003 12:34 am

thanks Jesse for the thoughtful post - very well written, it captured a lot of things I've been thinking about, but not able to write as succintly.

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Re: Old Stuff for a Modernist Crowd

#23 Post by KevinSchaper » Wed Aug 06, 2003 11:59 am

JesseMiner wrote:
KevinSchaper wrote:Does it work better to work in blocks of stuff from the same era or jump back and forth?
I try to work in blocks, easing from one style to another. At first these blocks might be short and infrequent. Given time, these blocks grow larger and more frequent throughout the night. This has been very successful for me.
I've actually been forcing myself away from this philosophy lately, and jumping around more, so I was actually gonna post the opposite (in reply to myself, of course :) ) - I think it's harder to still sound right, but it does good things on the floor.. I dunno if it's the unpredictability, or just that the contrasts make people perk their ears up a little more or what..

The tough part of this for a DJ is that if you wanna get more of one genre of music in your scene without a lot of violent upheval, you gotta like and play the stuff that's everybody's bread and butter.. then work on how you can make the stuff you want people to dance to fit in as every 3rd or 4th song, or less, I guess..

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Soupbone
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Re: Old Stuff for a Modernist Crowd

#24 Post by Soupbone » Thu Aug 07, 2003 9:02 am

KevinSchaper wrote:... this philosophy lately, and jumping around more...

The tough part of this for a DJ is that if you wanna get more of one genre of music in your scene without a lot of violent upheval, you gotta like and play the stuff that's everybody's bread and butter.. then work on how you can make the stuff you want people to dance to fit in as every 3rd or 4th song, or less, I guess..
That's where I am, for sure, with Atlanta. But, I've actually found it relatively easy to bounce around in era, recording quality and genre without having the set get too herky-jerky. I don't mind the lack of a perfectly smooth flow, especially in terms of genre or era. I'm a bit more mindful of hitting brick walls with energy level of the tunes, however.

Plus, after taking this approach for a few years, I'm happy to say many of the "bread and butter" tunes are things there were once on the other side of the fence!
Gary

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falty411
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Re: Old Stuff for a Modernist Crowd

#25 Post by falty411 » Thu Aug 07, 2003 11:08 am

JesseMiner wrote:I try to work in blocks, easing from one style to another. At first these blocks might be short and infrequent. Given time, these blocks grow larger and more frequent throughout the night. This has been very successful for me.

Jesse
i very much detest this pilosophy. I hate it even more now that almost every DJ has adopted it.

its this philiosophy that at least to me, bores me and makes the evening sound like one big long song.

I think contrast is key.

time for a new thread
-mikey faltesek

"Dancing is the union of the body with the rhythm and the sound of the music." Al Minns in 1984

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Re: Old Stuff for a Modernist Crowd

#26 Post by CafeSavoy » Thu Aug 07, 2003 1:41 pm

falty411 wrote:
i very much detest this pilosophy. I hate it even more now that almost every DJ has adopted it.

its this philiosophy that at least to me, bores me and makes the evening sound like one big long song.
if there are blocks, wouldn't that be several long songs?

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Re: Old Stuff for a Modernist Crowd

#27 Post by falty411 » Thu Aug 07, 2003 2:42 pm

CafeSavoy wrote:if there are blocks, wouldn't that be several long songs?
i knew your brain wasnt on idle anymore!
-mikey faltesek

"Dancing is the union of the body with the rhythm and the sound of the music." Al Minns in 1984

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#28 Post by mousethief » Fri Aug 08, 2003 11:43 am

if the crowd looks bored, time to change. if i am bored, it's definitely time for a chage.

kalman

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Re: Old Stuff for a Modernist Crowd

#29 Post by sonofvu » Mon Aug 18, 2003 9:56 am

KevinSchaper wrote:The local austin discussion about George viciously brutalizing the scene inspired this topic...

for George, and anybody else who wants to play swing-era stuff in a mostly post-swing-era scene, what're are good baby-step kinda songs?

Does it work better to work in blocks of stuff from the same era or jump back and forth?

...comments on going the other way are worthwhile too..
Yo KS got my back!!! And yes Nathan, I do believe that he is kidding when he said "brutalizing". I think the larger issue is that some of us feel that pre-war/swing era music is been pushed aside for the post war stuff, which quite frankly sounds better when amplified for the masses. It might be a technology issue but the fact remains that the post war ear (as a whole) does not tolerate the old stuff. We all have been afflicted by this in some form or the other. I for one will not for one second consider using a 386 pc to do anything.
Lawrence wrote: Nathan is trying to be too diplomatic because we both like George, personally, and don't want to slander him. George was not viciously brutalized, and yes, some "people" danced because they came to dance and will dance to anything. They could wiggle off-beat to bad music just as giddily as they wiggle off-beat to good music.
Like I said in the other thread, dancers vote with their feet. On the night in question there was some stuff that worked and other stuff that did not. I noticed the stuff that worked and the stuff that did not. I totally disagree with the notion that dancers will dance to anything.
JesseMiner wrote: 1. Slowly introduce songs -


2. Play some bridge material -


3. High-quality token songs -


4. Vary the tempos -
Good suggestions. Every single one of them. And they work too. The thing with those suggestions is that they take time. Austin is the kind of town that does not dance to a lot swing era stuff. If they do dance to that kind of music it is usually a modern rendition of the song. Austin will change. They will never totally accept the pre-war swing era stuff (as in that is all we play). To do that the whole scene would have to be over hauled. I do not want that. What I do want is to introduce them to the wealth of music that have been left behind for us to enjoy.

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