The completion of my DJ set on March 19, 2015, marked my seven year anniversary since my debut with the Portland Lindy Society, DJing faithfully come rain, shine, or near-broken leg. The only voluntary absences were for trips to England, i.e. few enough to barely merit a mention. The future from here for me remains foggy – the format from April onward will heavily feature live music (yay!), local musicians(yay again!) in local bands(you get the idea) playing at a new venue (new for the PLS) each Thursday. My appetite to DJ has rarely been keener, yet opportunities to do so appear in sharp contrast. Against this somewhat melancholy air, I received widespread acclaim throughout the attendees for the quality of the Seven Year Anniversary set. With all of these ingredients in the mixing bowl, with a predominant feeling of ‘The end of an era’, I’m going to go through the set in some detail – something I’ve never done before.
1. Frosty Morning Blues – Smoking Time Jazz Club (116)
The fourth track from their second album, Lina’s Blues(2012), recorded in the 9th Ward, New Orleans by Earl Scioneaux. Musicians : Sarah Peterson, vocal; Jason King, guitar; Jack Pritchett, trumpet; Colin Myers, trombone; John Joyce, bass; Chris Johnson & Dan Oestreicher, saxophones; Mike Voelker, drums; Jimbino Vegan, clarinet.
Sarah Peterson’s vocals reach into the soul of old time Louisiana hard times and carry dancer and listener alike back to the period. A tune chosen to get dancers moving again after the DJ change over, various announcements, and birthday dance. Moving, though, at a sensitive, introductory pace carrying a promise of greater vigour to come.
2. What Did I Do? (An Ambiguous Love Song) – Glenn Crytzer’s Savoy Seven (142)
Track 3 from Glenn Crytzer’s latest release of all original compositions, Uptown Jump, recorded in New York. Album musicians are Glenn Crytzer, guitar and vocal; Mike Davis, trumpet; Evan Arntzen, clarinet and tenor; Dan Levinson, soprano, alto and tenor saxes; Jesse Gelber, piano; Andrew Hall, bass; Kevin Dorn, drums. All participate on this track.
In my opinion, this is not actually the most genial track on the album. The implication I make is that it is genial to some degree – correct. A large degree. Listeners will enjoy the wryness of the smile this track brings through repeated play, while dancers will make hay – the tempo is good for ‘birthday/out-of-towners dance’ designation as a bonus.
3. The Blue Room – Bud Freeman Trio (171)
Track 20 on Bud Freeman’s Chronological Classics 1928-1938 CD, recorded November 30, 1938, New York City. Freeman on tenor; Jess Stacy, piano; George Wettling, drums.
Stacy does more than a sterling turn here backing up Freeman who understandably features most. This tune falls into a category I’ve elegantly named ‘comes from parts of my collection lamentably neglected’.
4. Cocktail – Funny Boys (198)
Recorded in Oslo, Norway; January 26, 1938. Karl Engstrom, clarinet; Finn Westbye, guitar & tenor; Gunnar Sonstevold, piano & trombone; Svein Overgaard, drums; Einar Hoff, bass.
5. Monday Night In New Orleans – Kermit Ruffins (114)
Track 1 from the album ‘World on a String’ that was released in 1993. An easy, feel-good, extra-warm hospitality track leaves no dancer breathless while kinetically satisfied.
6. Southern Fried – Charlie Barnet & his Orchestra (130)
B-side to the Redskin Rhumba disc, released in 1940 on Bluebird. Track no. 24 on Charlie Barnet Chronological Classics 1940 vol.2
7. Momma’s In The Kitchen – Slim Gaillard & his Trio (166)
Track 5 on Slim Gaillard Chronological Classics 1947-1951. Recorded in Los Angeles, October 1, 1947. Gaillard on guitar and vocal; Bam Brown is on bass and also vocal; Dodo Marmarosa, piano.
Frivolous lyric (shock), clear rhythm for dancers. In keeping with a number of other Slim (and sometimes Slim & Slam) tunes, choosing to dance more to the 2-beat timing is equally as valid as choosing 4 to the bar.
8. Juin – Le Quintette Francais (194)
War time Jazz recorded in Paris, surviving the clampdown from Germany on the music.
9. Every Day – Count Basie & The Mills Brothers (116)
AKA, Every Day I Have The Blues, recorded in 1968, track 21 on the album Count Basie with the Mills Brothers-The Board of Directors Annual Report : Count Basie, piano; The Mills Brothers; Frank Foster, tenor; Bobby Plater, alto; Marshall Royal, alto; Eric Dixon, tenor; Charlie Fowlkes, baritone; Al Aarons-Gene Goe-Ernie Royal, trumpets; Bill Hughes-Grover Mitchell-Dick Boone-Harlen Floyd, trombones; Freddie Green-Norman Brown, guitar; Norman Keenan, bass; Sol Gubin, drums.
10. The Shop – The Hep Chaps (147)
Recorded in London, 2011. David Howarth, guitar & vocal; John Wallace vocal & tenor; Roger Beaujolais, vibes; John Day, bass; Zac Zdravkovic, guitar; John Dillon, drums.
Another lyrically frivolous, highly entertaining piece of art from the master-pens of David Howarth and John Wallace. A song about going to the supermarket somewhere in or around London, and the trials and tribulations involved in the event. In terms of cultural and historical significance, I am (not) reminded of Strange Fruit. Seriously, a wonderful 4-plus minutes of rhythmic intensity from the Swing marvels of London town.
11. Perdido Street Stomp – Mezzrow-Bechet Quintet (167)
Track 20 on the Mezz Mezzrow 1944-1945 Chronological Classics, recorded August 29, 1945 in New York City. Mezz Mezzrow, clarinet; Sidney Bechet, soprano sax; Fitz Weston, piano; Pops Foster, bass; Kaiser Marshall, drums.
The jewel in the crown of the set, for me. Another tune from the ‘..part of my collection.. neglected..’ category. Multi-layered, multi-dimensional – no level of dancer could roll their eyes at this one, and none did!
Go find this, listen, then just revel in what just happened.
12. Pennies From Heaven – Count Basie & his Orchestra, ft Jimmy Rushing (180)
Track 6 from Count Basie 1936-1938 Chronological Classics, recorded January 21, 1937, NYC. Count Basie, piano; Buck Clayton-Joe Keyes-Carl Smith, trumpets; George Hunt-Dan Minor, trombones; Caughey Roberts, alto; Jack Washington, alto & baritone; Herschel Evans-Lester Young, tenors and clarinets; Claude Williams, guitar; Walter Page, bass; Joe Jones, drums; Jimmy Rushing, singing loud and proud.
The set is cooking now, boiling. On the heels of that previous Mezzrow-Bechet tune, this propels the momentum of the night onto another plane.
13. Alice Blue Gown – Ben Pollack & his Orchestra (209)
Highest BPM of the night award, recorded for Decca on September 11, 1937 and is track 23 on the CD ‘The Ben Pollack Orchestras 1928-1938’. Ben Pollack, drums; Muggsy Spanier, trumpet; Ted Vesely, trombone; Ben Kanter, clarinet; King Guion, tenor sax; Bob Laine, piano; Garry Adams, guitar; Francis Palmer, string bass.
It’s like watching the ocean tide come in. The dance floor is refreshed, the weary and tiring washed away by the propulsive questions being asked by the music. What’s left is a clean, revitalised floor, full of new life.
14. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart – Duke Ellington & his Famous Orchestra (104)
The lowest BPM of the night award – recorded March 3, 1938. Track no.15 on Duke Ellington Chronological Classics 1938. Duke Ellington, piano; Wallace Jones-Cootie Williams, trumpets; Rex Stewart, cornet; Joe Nanton-Lawrence Brown, trombones; Juan Tizol, valve trombone; Barney Bigard, clarinet; Johnny Hodges, doing only what Johnny Hodges could do; Harry Carney, baritone sax, alto and clarinet; Otto Hardwick, alto; Hayes Alvis-Billy Taylor, bass; Sonny Greer, drums; Freddie Guy, guitar.
A recording of scintillating beauty, simplicity and Ellingtonian elegance. Almost an apology from the DJ through this for the frenetic rhythms unleashed in the last ten minutes. The message is – relax. This recording delivers.
15. A Smooth One – Joe Smith & His Spicy Pickles (132)
Recorded at Decibel Garden in Denver, CO, mixed and mastered by Prescott Blackler, 2013. Track 2 from the EP ‘Extra Spicy’. Joe Smith, trumpet; Prescott Blackler, trombone; Elijah Samuels, clarinet; Ryan Elwood, drums; Aaron Walker, guitar; Scott Johnson, bass.
Elijah Samuels provides dancers with more devices than typical with which to improvise movement variations, due to some exuberant but never insensitive clarinet work.
16. My Blue Heaven – Mona’s Hot Four (177)
Recorded at Mona’s in NYC in 2012, released in October 30, 2012 on the CD ‘Tuesdays at Mona’s’. The whole CD is a live recording from the famous venue, and performed by Dennis Lichtman, clarinet; Jared Engel, bass; Nick Russo, banjo, Gordon Webster, piano.
Dennis Lichtman lights a fire (with regard to dancers) through this glorious rendition of the 1928 classic. Where his ideas go, his sense of timing and phrasing, so the experienced dancers follow, basing their improvisations on his creative direction.
17. I’d Like To Break Your Neck – Chuck Murphy (157)
Recorded 1952 on the Coral label. Lyric not to be taken seriously. It was time to re-introduce some frivolity after the we-mean-business air cumulatively nurtured by the previous five tunes.
18. Black And Tan Fantasie – Duke Ellington & his Orchestra (117)
Track 4 on the Duke Ellington 1927-1928 Chronological Classics, recorded October 26, 1927. Duke Ellington, piano; Bubber Miley-Louis Metcalfe, trumpet; Joe Nanton, trombone; Otto Hardwick, soprano, baritone and alto saxes; Harry Carney, alto, baritone, clarinet; Rudy Jackson, clarinet and tenor; Freddie Guy, banjo; Wellman Braud, bass; Sonny Greer, drums.
Once heard, never ever forgotten. In terms of the set, the tail end of the night felt good for giving the faithful dancers a treat of almighty proportions. Too many devices in this tune for any one dancer to make full and total use of. That’s a positive, not a negative in any way, shape or form.
19. How Could You Do? – Miff Mole’s Molers (156)
The final track in the category ‘part of my collection neglected and under-utilised’. Not any more..
Recorded February 17, 1937, track no.20 on the Miff Mole Chronological Classics 1928-1937 CD. Miff Mole-Glenn Miller-Vincent Grande, trombones; Harry James-Gordon Griffin-Tony Tortomas, trumpets; Paul Ricci, clarinet; Toots Mondello, alto; Frank Signorelli, piano; Carl Kress, guitar; Sid Weiss, sax; Sam Weiss, drums; Midge Williams is singing this one.
That is not a bad band at all is it? Nicely pulsing track, not quick, not mellow, to bring in the finale….
20. What Manner Of A Man Is This? – Mahalia Jackson
Track 7 on the CD ‘Gospels, Spirituals and Hymns, Vol 2’. The peerless Mahalia Jackson.
Thanks for listening – Goodnight.