Swing and Blues Corner Posts

Jammin’ the Blues is near-legendary piece of jazz art. Made in 1944, nominated for an Acadamy Award, and described by Turner Movie Classics as “one of the greatest of all jazz films” – it came into being when innovative photographer Gjon Mili, and Jazz producer Norman Granz joined forces to recreate on film a jam session of the type that was popular in the 30s and 40s. With a stellar cast of musicians and dancers, the result was a beautiful landmark in jazz movie-making, the like of which has never been done since.

Oh – and it’s only viewable on standard definition, in only passable quality. Which, of course, makes it a prime candidate for some upscaling work to try and bring out the real beauty of the film for everyone to enjoy.

General rambles Videos

Video upscaling software seems to be getting very popular these days – and I was blissfully unaware until the folks at Estiloswing blew everyone away with an incredible-looking upscaled version of the HD Hellzapoppin’ routine version which Atilio Menéndez found a while back. Of course… there was nothing for it but to revisit my retiming project, and see if I could use similar techniques to enhance it.

All I needed to do was find out what tools to use, run the original video through it, drop that into my existing project! Easy, yes?

Cue the deranged laughter. No. Nothing is ever that simple. Many hours later, many tens of hours of dedicated computer processing time, at least four start-from-scratch versions, over a dozen “I think I’ve finally finished” versions, the lucky unearthing of another HD copy of the full film, infinite patience on the part of my wonderful and long-suffering partner, a few more lost hair follicles….

And yes – I believe I do – finally – have something to show for it.

General rambles Video Edits

One of the classic Tranky Doo clips that we have is the Spirit Moves one, and most of the routine – as we dance it today – is derived from this version. Ironically, this version is almost certainly the reason it’s usually danced to Dipsy Doodle – I say ironically, because it’s pretty unlikely that Dipsy Doodle is what they were dancing to in the clip – and in true Spirit Moves fashion, then music was added as an afterthought, and in no way matches the dancing.

General rambles

Over the lockdown, we spent twenty two weeks teaching our superhumanly patient group what could well be the world’s longest Big Apple course. For the benefit of the group, and for anyone else who’s interested, it feels like a great time to share a bit more detail on the Apple – some of the history, who the dancers were, musical breakdowns, and a few fun details we’ve spotted along the way. After the fold – some of the history, and the dancers who we see in this classic piece of dance history.

General rambles

Blues General rambles Live

Many many years ago, I wrote a slightly post called Joshuaphile, based on the fact that I had quite a few versions of Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho (by any number of names) – and how they were mostly quite wildly different from each other. I’ve often wondered about playing a set where I stuck to different versions of exactly same song… so I put together an 8track of eight different versions.

Anyway – 8track has long gone, and now I have a whole lot more versions of Joshua. So here’s Joshuaphile take 2 (or times 2) – with double the number of Joshuas, and using MixCloud, which doesn’t look like going anywhere any time soon. I’m sure everyone has long been harbouring a burning desire to listen to sixteen different versions of Joshua in one stretch – so finally, after the fold you can do exactly that!

Blues General rambles Music Swing

It’s been a long ten weeks, putting together this set of blog posts – and I can barely believe I’ve reached the end of it. Here then, is the last installment. As ever, all the songs can be heard on a MixCloud mix, and on my now complete(ish) Spotify list. Enjoy!

DJing Music Set Lists Swing Top 100

Blues DJing Music Top 100