Are you an "opener" or a "closer"?

Tips and techniques of the trade

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djstarr
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#31 Post by djstarr » Thu Apr 29, 2004 5:26 pm

sonofvu wrote:Man, being the opener can be tough. I was the first dj on Thursday for the Great Southwest lindy fest. Talk to Kevin Schaper sometime. He has a nickname for me now. It was tough because it was my first major event exposure but also I did not know what to expect from the dancers. As the dancers filed in they got registered and then they headed for the dance floor. I played some 180 bpm old school stuff. Nothing. Then played some late 40's early 50's hi-fi stuff that hovered about 120 bpm. Nothing. That's when I got a beat down by the organizers (they told me to find a happy medium). Vocals did it. Old School and 50's vocals is what worked. Opening is tough. You don't have much time to get to know the audience. It can be done but whenever I open there are always some anxious moments for me.
I had a little bit of troubles for my big set at DCLX, everybody was waiting at the door to get in for Sat late night; 1 am and there were already about 50 people there; I put in some mid-tempo classic stuff I like - Chick Webb's "There's a Frost on the Moon" (it was cold) and Earl Hines "Me and Columbus" - nothing!

3rd song was Goody Goody by Ella Fitzgerald, which is my goto starter song now - it worked like a charm. Followed by Splanky, Shout Sister Shout, and Louis Armstrong's Mack the Knife, then I was able to stretch out from there.

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#32 Post by julius » Thu Apr 29, 2004 6:20 pm

djstarr wrote: I refuse to believe that you don't own any copies of shiny stockings; your CD collection beats mine by a couple of rooms full and i have 3 or 4 different versions of it.
I am sure I own the song on a Chicago Six CD but nothing by Basie or any similar new testament bands. Really. I don't even think I have Ella doing it, or whoever that singer of the vocal version is. (I can't remember...)

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djstarr
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#33 Post by djstarr » Fri Apr 30, 2004 2:26 am

julius wrote:
djstarr wrote: I refuse to believe that you don't own any copies of shiny stockings; your CD collection beats mine by a couple of rooms full and i have 3 or 4 different versions of it.
I am sure I own the song on a Chicago Six CD but nothing by Basie or any similar new testament bands. Really. I don't even think I have Ella doing it, or whoever that singer of the vocal version is. (I can't remember...)
I really think you are pulling my leg, but I'll play along. Here are the CD's that I have versions of Shiny Stockings on:

Ella and Basie (the definitive version)
Ella at Juan-Les-Pins (with Roy Eldridge)
Count Basie - Ken Burns Jazz (this is an instrumental, but you can pretend you are Ella and sing along!)
Milt Jackson and Count Basie vol 2.


You really don't have any of the above CDs? The Count Basie - Ken Burns Jazz collection is worth getting, tons of great dance songs - same with Ella and Basie and Ella at Juan-Les-Pins.

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#34 Post by julius » Fri Apr 30, 2004 11:38 am

I have so much Basie that I expect the Ken Burns sampler (which is basically what it is) would be redundant. I own none of those albums.

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djstarr
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#35 Post by djstarr » Fri Apr 30, 2004 11:22 pm

How about any of these? (Courtesy of allmusic)

Basie, Count Fitzgerald/Foster April in Paris [Early Bird] [00]
Basie, Count Foster April in Paris [Verve] [55]
Basie, Count Foster Basie in Europe/Blues Alley [85]
Basie, Count Foster Basie Swing [95]
Basie, Count Foster Basie Swings [02]
Basie, Count Fitzgerald/Foster Best of Count Basie [Denon] [95]
Basie, Count Fitzgerald/Foster Big Band Basie [95]
Basie, Count Fitzgerald/Foster Big Band Jazz, Vol. 3
Basie, Count Foster Big Band Masters [96]
Basie, Count Foster Blues Alley [96]
Basie, Count Foster Compact Jazz: Count Basie Plays the Blues [Verve 1987] [87]
Basie, Count Foster Count Basie in London [56]
Basie, Count Foster Count Basie's Finest Hour [02]
Basie, Count Foster Count on the Coast, Vol. 2 [00]
Basie, Count Foster Golden Years [72]
Basie, Count Foster Jazz Casual: Sing and Swing [01]
Basie, Count Fitzgerald/Foster Jazz Hour with Count Basie, Vol. 2: Jumpin' at the Woodside [96]
Basie, Count Foster Ken Burns Jazz [00]
Basie, Count Foster Live at El Morocco [92]
Basie, Count Fitzgerald/Foster Live at the Hollywood Palladium [84]
Basie, Count Fitzgerald/Foster Live in Concert [62]
Basie, Count Foster Live in Japan (1978) [78]
Basie, Count Foster Long Live the Chief [86]
Basie, Count Foster Low Life [94]
Basie, Count Foster Palais de Chaillot 3-29-60: Live [01]
Basie, Count Fitzgerald/Foster Standing Ovation [69]
Basie, Count Foster Timeless Count Basie [02]
Basie, Count Fitzgerald/Foster Verve Jazz Masters 2 [94]
Basie, Count Orches Foster Big Band Jazz, Vol. 1: From the Beginning to the Fifties [83]
Basie, Count Orches Foster Denon Jazz Sampler, Vol. 2 [87]
Basie, Count Orches Fitzgerald/Foster Jazz at Santa Monica Civic '72 [72]
Basie, Count Orches Foster Really Swingin': Frankie Manning's Big Band [98]


and as a side note, I was curious who wrote Shiny stockings and when; Ask Jeeves comes up with a link to "Count Basie: 10 Count Basie Classics":

All Of Me - Composed by: Seymour Simons and Gerald Marks - © 1931
Blues In Hoss Flat (Blues In Frankie's Flat) - Composed by: William "Count" Basie and Frank Foster - © 1958
Jumpin' At The Woodside - Composed by: Jon Hendricks and Count Basie - © 1938
Moten Swing - Composed by: Buster Moten and Bennie Moten - © 1947
Li'l Darlin' - Composed by: Neal Hefti - © 1958
Cute - Composed by: Stanley Styne and Neal Hefti - © 1958
Shiny Stockings - Composed by: Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Foster - © 1956
One O'clock - Composed by: Count Basie - © 1938
Until I Met You (Corner Pocket) - Composed by: Freddie Green and Don Wolf - © 1956
April In Paris - Composed by: E.Y. Harburg and Vernon Duke - © 1932

Julius, if you still really don't own it, maybe you should go out and get one of these - how can you not have one of the 10 Count Basie Classics? ;-)

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#36 Post by julius » Sat May 01, 2004 11:45 am

djstarr wrote: Basie, Count Foster April in Paris [Verve] [55]
I have this, but I rarely listen to it. Guess I forgot. I don't remember being too impressed by the album, which is why I rarely listen to it.
Julius, if you still really don't own it, maybe you should go out and get one of these - how can you not have one of the 10 Count Basie Classics? ;-)
Oh yeah? Well how come you don't own Rosy McHargue's Ragtimers? HUH? HUH?

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#37 Post by djstarr » Sat May 01, 2004 3:48 pm

julius wrote:Oh yeah? Well how come you don't own Rosy McHargue's Ragtimers? HUH? HUH?
How come you know I don't? ..... and I'm sure there are several tracks on there good for opening for beginning dancers ;-)

I do have more Mound City Blue Blowers than I thought - I'm listening to Coleman Hawkins Ken Burns Jazz collection today - it's also got a cut from the Further Definitions album....

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#38 Post by gatorgal » Wed May 05, 2004 10:37 am

Just came back from Toronto where I had a couple of sets that started that particular venue. I was nervous as hell, but everything went fine. I mean no one stared at me with a look of horror (George, that's an awful story by the way... I totally feel for you!)

I did have one blip on Sunday night where the space I was spinning was extremely dark and I couldn't see a thing... so when there was no sound, I couldn't figure out if everything was hooked up correctly. So there was a couple of minutes (a small eternity?) of dead air. But got back on track and I think I had one of my better sets of the weekend.

And thinking back on the experience, I'd much rather open than have to follow someone like Rayned or Jesse. :)

Tina 8)
"I'm here to kick a little DJ a$$!"
~ Foreman on That 70s Show

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sonofvu
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#39 Post by sonofvu » Thu May 06, 2004 9:09 am

gatorgal wrote:Just came back from Toronto where I had a couple of sets that started that particular venue. I was nervous as hell, but everything went fine. I mean no one stared at me with a look of horror (George, that's an awful story by the way... I totally feel for you!)

I did have one blip on Sunday night where the space I was spinning was extremely dark and I couldn't see a thing... so when there was no sound, I couldn't figure out if everything was hooked up correctly. So there was a couple of minutes (a small eternity?) of dead air. But got back on track and I think I had one of my better sets of the weekend.

And thinking back on the experience, I'd much rather open than have to follow someone like Rayned or Jesse. :)

Tina 8)
I'm glad your Toronto experience was a good one. Look at you, moving up in the world and everything. As far as my experience, what doesn't kill makes you stronger, or raises your insurance premiums.
Yard work sucks. I would much rather dj.

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#40 Post by gatorgal » Thu May 06, 2004 12:23 pm

sonofvu wrote:As far as my experience, what doesn't kill makes you stronger, or raises your insurance premiums.
You so crack me up. :lol:

Thanks for the kind words...

Tina 8)
"I'm here to kick a little DJ a$$!"
~ Foreman on That 70s Show

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#41 Post by mousethief » Thu May 06, 2004 2:05 pm

gatorgal wrote:Just came back from Toronto where I had a couple of sets that started that particular venue. I was nervous as hell, but everything went fine. I mean no one stared at me with a look of horror (George, that's an awful story by the way... I totally feel for you!)

I did have one blip on Sunday night where the space I was spinning was extremely dark and I couldn't see a thing... so when there was no sound, I couldn't figure out if everything was hooked up correctly. So there was a couple of minutes (a small eternity?) of dead air. But got back on track and I think I had one of my better sets of the weekend.

And thinking back on the experience, I'd much rather open than have to follow someone like Rayned or Jesse. :)

Tina 8)
Take a note from Greg Avakian and carry a small flashlight.

Kalman
"The cause of reform is hurt, not helped, when an activist makes an idiotic suggestion."

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#42 Post by wheresmygravy » Thu May 06, 2004 2:42 pm

mousethief wrote: Take a note from Greg Avakian and carry a small flashlight.

Kalman
Shoot, Kalman, I have to carry a couple of flashlights cuz I'm old and I can't read in the dark anymore and I am too vain to bring my reading glasses to dances. I think that would just ruin my image. (as if I had one)

jerry

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#43 Post by (geek) » Thu May 06, 2004 9:15 pm

I have come to enjoy opening, closing, or being in the middle of a night.. but I find the most enjoyable set depends on the nature of the venue.

At exchanges, I love closing out the latenight because they're generally more about groove, blues, and being silly.. so anything goes. Closing out a weekly evening venue is perhaps less enjoyable as many people go home early due to early starts the next morning, etc.

Opening is also good stuff, and it is fun to do your best to hand off a happily crowded floor to the next DJ.

The whole "fashionably late" situation with Lindy folk makes opening venues more challenging, as you don't want to blow all your money songs without a floor that will really dig them... So I think the middle of the evening when everybody's hopping is the all-round best bet for DJ enjoyment.

As Kevin mentioned, trading shorter sets of 3 or 8 songs between a few djs for the peak of the night is probably the fairest way to run what would otherwise be a two-shift night. I've always had a great time working in tandem with other DJs, and the feedback from dancers on this format seems to be pretty positive. Rather than having to worry about "soft-balling" the DJ you're trading with, you can play around / challenge them to maintain a good flow of energy between your personal styles and ideas. And be challenged!

Having a whole night to yourself is a great time to try out new musical territory.. different styles, artists, energy levels. But it takes quite a bit of endurance to be "on" for 4-5 hours.. wouldn't want to do it every
week!

And gatorgal.. everyone raved about your T3 sets, so no more being bashful. ;-)

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#44 Post by LindyChef » Sun May 09, 2004 6:32 pm

(geek) wrote:And gatorgal.. everyone raved about your T3 sets, so no more being bashful. ;-)
Off topic, but I second that ... Tina rocked the house :D

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#45 Post by gatorgal » Mon May 10, 2004 7:39 am

:oops:

Thanks guys!

Tina 8)
"I'm here to kick a little DJ a$$!"
~ Foreman on That 70s Show

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