Groove to old school and vise versa

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sonofvu
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Groove to old school and vise versa

#1 Post by sonofvu » Tue Apr 27, 2004 8:38 pm

There are some djs out there that shy away from groove and there are some that shy away from classic but there are those that want to mix the two in their sets. Here is the problem; going from groove to classic and back can be a bit jarring. I read some blog from a swing dj (I honestly can not remember who) that going from a classic song straight into a groove song does not really work. There is simply too much contrast and it breaks up whatever flow the dj had going. I tend to agree. Is the solution to this problem transitional songs? Is there such a thing as a transitional song?

Example: Let's say that Easy Rider from Erskine Hawkins is playing and you want to get to Oscar Peterson's Bag's Groove. What are some songs that would possibly smooth that transition?
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Bob the Builder
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#2 Post by Bob the Builder » Tue Apr 27, 2004 8:48 pm

I don't think, I've had this problem.
I mainly play classic, but do like groove every now and then.
I've found as I've really gone out and found new music, that there are many classic styles songs of the 40's and even 30's that have a groove feeling to them. I just us them.
Where the problem I think comes in, is in the energy level. Chopping and changing extremes of energy levels between your groove and classic will cause your jarring problem.

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julius
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#3 Post by julius » Tue Apr 27, 2004 9:12 pm

play a piano trio with a chick singer.
now play something a little faster like a mellow small band song, maybe the benny goodman quartet or a gene harris/OP thing
now play a mid tempo big band song like new testament Basie
now play a hoppin' big band classic
now play a flag waver

now back it off in the same way.

mel from SD did this once:
1) groove song
2) alberta hunter's version of 'darktown strutter's ball' the one that starts very slow and ends up midtempo
3) classic big band swing

was awesome.

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#4 Post by mousethief » Wed Apr 28, 2004 7:10 am

Alberta Hunter's "DTSB" is a great segue piece. It really depends what the pieces are. If you're building up energy with some classic pieces, you can go directly into a groove piece once you've gotten what you were looking for.

For example, I might play "Rhythm Is Our Business" then "Who Ya Hunchin'" then "Doggin' Around." That last piece ends great, so it might be time to give the dancers a break by playing "Moten Swing" by Oscar Peterson or "All The Way" by Aaron Bell.

On the flipside, building to a classic piece is a bit harder. Generally, I only do 2-4 slower pieces before I return to classic songs. I'm not a big fan of "flwoing" nights, where the tempo may range all over but the transition is gradual.

*blanking*

A great piece with a driving intro - maybe Chick Webb or Gene Krupa - can stand above "Makin' Bread Again" just on its energy. You don't need to segue pieces like that. They stand on their own.

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

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gatorgal
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Re: Groove to old school and vise versa

#5 Post by gatorgal » Wed Apr 28, 2004 8:39 am

sonofvu wrote: Here is the problem; going from groove to classic and back can be a bit jarring. I read some blog from a swing dj (I honestly can not remember who) that going from a classic song straight into a groove song does not really work. There is simply too much contrast and it breaks up whatever flow the dj had going. I tend to agree. Is the solution to this problem transitional songs? Is there such a thing as a transitional song?
I honestly don't think that the switch is that jarring. My sets are all over the place stylistically speaking, but I try to match tempos and keep an ebb and flow to things, which I think is more important. I think if you think in those terms (ebb and flow of tempos I mean) switching styles won't be so noticeable to your average dancer.

If there are transitional songs out there that I use, I'm completely oblivious to them. Or I guess I should say that I probably use them, but I'm not explicitly thinking "I'm using XYZ song to get from groove to classic or whatever".

And I just realized I'm rambling, so I'm gonna stop now.
Tina 8)
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~ Foreman on That 70s Show

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falty411
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Re: Groove to old school and vise versa

#6 Post by falty411 » Wed Apr 28, 2004 9:34 am

gatorgal wrote: "I'm using XYZ song to get from groove to classic or whatever".
Yeah, using "XYZ" by Earl Hines wouldnt be a smooth transition

haha, i make myself laugh
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"Dancing is the union of the body with the rhythm and the sound of the music." Al Minns in 1984

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sonofvu
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#7 Post by sonofvu » Wed Apr 28, 2004 12:56 pm

Bob the Builder wrote:
Where the problem I think comes in, is in the energy level. Chopping and changing extremes of energy levels between your groove and classic will cause your jarring problem.

Brian
I was not thiinking from this angle but I do see your point. Usually the groove song will be low energy. My sets are about 75 - 80% classic and there are times that I have a good thing going and then I change gears and the change in enrgy changes the mood of the dancers and puts the flow in jeapordy.
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Kyle
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#8 Post by Kyle » Wed Apr 28, 2004 1:11 pm

look at transitioning based on what you hear

say you play a male vocal, medium tempo

play another male vocal medium tempo, but switch genre's

say, Joe williams (Stop, Dont) I think that's the name to late frank say, Fly me to the moon

when you do that, you can go from a groovier sound with male vocal to a swingin sound with male vocal. the male vocal helps to keep the transition smooth, and allows you to switch over to a different style of playing (groove vs. swing)

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JesseMiner
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#9 Post by JesseMiner » Wed Apr 28, 2004 1:31 pm

You can transition fairly quickly between just about any styles of swinging music at a dance. The key is to be familiar with each style well enough to know which transitions will work and which won't. If you're trying to mix in a style of music you aren't familiar with, you might be uncomfortable with the transitions.

Once you are familiar and comfortable with the styles you are working with, you need to think about how to go between them. Sometimes you want a few songs to bridge the gap between vastly different selections, but other times you want to smash them right up next to each other for effect. Make the transitions intentional, do them with conviction and hope for the best. :)

If you break your flow through these transitions, then you just need to think about how to improve your flow. If done right, they should be the flow of your DJing at that point since all the selections you are playing are intentially played to be the most enjoyable for the dancing audience.

Jesse

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sonofvu
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#10 Post by sonofvu » Wed Apr 28, 2004 3:22 pm

Did I screw up? Does this belong over in the DJ skills forum?
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JesseMiner
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#11 Post by JesseMiner » Wed Apr 28, 2004 4:43 pm

Yeah, this probably does belong over here in DJ Skillz and has thus been moved.

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Roy
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#12 Post by Roy » Thu Apr 29, 2004 6:36 am

There are songs that clearly transition, there are some groove songs with higher tempos and/or energy, just like there are some classic swing songs with lower tempos and/or lower energy. If you go to low enery, slower, groove song to high energ, high tempo classis swing song, then yes it will be jarring but that is not nessesary.

Here is a transition pattern that I sometimes employ; groove w/piano emphasis>slow or mid tempo classic swing hi-fi w/piano emphasis>classic swing mid tempo, lo-fi piano emphasis>anything classic swing lo-fi. Besides the style the rythm section needs to be similar to the previous song, you can't go from a smooth sounding beat to a heavy one without it feeling jarring.

But that is just one example of many. There are many ways to do it. but its not easy and even the most experienced djs can sometimes be jarring when moving between them. One thing I found that helps is to leave a slighty longer space between songs when transitioning, it seems to lesson the percieved contrast.

I'm next up as the guest on Yehoodi radio, I go back and forth between groove, and classis with a little bit of traditional blues and a little bit of Jump blues mixed in. I think some trasitions work great and others are ok, I was listening through it yesterday and i actually think one of the transitions down right stinks. But I am curious on what other people have to say, I consider myself as still learning and developing as a DJ, who has come a long way but still needs some work.

Roy,
www.royrydbeck.com

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sonofvu
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#13 Post by sonofvu » Thu Apr 29, 2004 1:43 pm

Good comments one and all. Creating smooth transitions takes a lot more thought than I had imagined. I find that I need to preview carefully and even then I need to know my music well so that the transitions are smooth. There are times when I hit it just right and I knock it out the park and then there are times when I run the dancers into a brick wall. I can see it in their faces. It takes a few bars for them to adjust to what is going on. I know that this flow thing is not an exact science but I want to minimize the "black magic" effect as much as possible. I've been reading these comments and I have a ton to learn.
Yard work sucks. I would much rather dj.

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#14 Post by mousethief » Thu Apr 29, 2004 1:54 pm

To clarify: I don't necessarily believe in smooth transitions. Bands don't always go for that either - you can listen to radio broadcasts for examples.

Kalman
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sonofvu
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#15 Post by sonofvu » Thu Apr 29, 2004 2:10 pm

mousethief wrote:To clarify: I don't necessarily believe in smooth transitions. Bands don't always go for that either - you can listen to radio broadcasts for examples.

Kalman
This is true. Bands just go for what they want to play. The dancers never seem to mind the abrupt transitions. But then again live music does have some distinct advantages over the djed stuff. I never was a big proponent of flow but then I realized that I was playing it safe and not straying from my classic roots or even certain tempos. As a result I found it difficult to go from something like "Stomp It Off" all the way down to "Across the track blues".
Yard work sucks. I would much rather dj.

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