At The Chase 2018: Competition DJing Pt 2 (Strictly Lindy)

This post is a follow-on from At The Chase 2018: Competition DJing Pt 1 (Mix & Match) – where I started to chronicle my decisions behind choosing music for the Chase Festival competitions. The Strictly Lindy prelims had the same format as the Mix & Match – which is to say three heats, each with three songs, each song for 60 – 70 seconds, two medium and one fast. Nice and simple.

As before, my key criteria were to have songs that were fun, swung hard, and that maintained a good energy for the time I’d be playing them. If I were playing the whole song it’d be a different matter – but a one phrase section of quiet can eat a large chunk out of a sixty second running time, and I wanted people to really have a chance to go to town.

So here we go…

Prelims

Heat 1 Songs

  1. Tommy Dorsey – Make me Know It – Quite a quirky track – lots of room for play. It’s normally one of those tracks I use when building energy in a room, as from a gentle start, it really kicks into gear as it progresses. Even in the first sixty seconds, there’s a good amount to play with, and I thought it would serve well as an initial first song / half warm up.
  2. Bob Crosby – Rag Mop – Bob Crosby’s band at their best had such a wonderful, exuberant energy that this song was a cinch for inclusion. This one always goes down well, and you can see it in the way the dancers respond.
  3. Cab Calloway – Three Swings and Out – I suppose Cab Calloway is chiefly known for Minnie the Moocher – but he was a superb musician, and had one of the hardest-swinging bands of its time. Three Swings and Out is a great high-energy track, with some wonderful interplay and beautiful driving syncopations between melody lines.

Heat 2 Songs

  1. Sammy Price’s Bluesicians (with Sidney Bechet) – Back Home – found this one quite recently, and edited it for length, and to remove a couple of low-energy, less fun sections. It has a heavy driving rhythm section basis, and the interplay between Bechet’s clarinet and the other horns gives a lot of fun texture to the song.
  2. Andy Kirk & His Orchestra with Mary Lou Williams – A Mellow Bit of Rhythm – This track is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. So many fun rhythmic changes. So much fun to play around to.
  3. Roy Eldridge – Swingin’ on that Famous Door – Another great one – driving rhythm section, a wonderful catch tune, and some lovely rhythmic interplay between the different instruments.

Heat 3 Songs

  1. Ben Webster – One O’Clock Jump – An unusually slow version of this number. It kicks off with some fun, but not very dancer friendly twiddly vibraphone playing – but there’s always that heavy underlying beat to latch on to – and when the main refrain kicks in after the introduction, the dancers can go to town with it.
  2.  Hudson Delange Orchestra – Mr Ghost Goes to Town – I doubt the track needs any introduction to people – always a lot of fun to dance to, but this particular version is my firm favourite. Very joyful and playful.
  3. Count Basie & his Orchestra – Rock a bye Basie – What can I say but Basie? A rhythm section that can’t be beaten – and that wonderful Basie sound.

Semifinals

Chase Strictly semis are in the battle format – so two couples going head-to-head for a portion of a song, and the three judges vote on the spot as to who wins – which is a wonderfully time-efficient way of judging. I first saw this in action at a B Boy competition a few years back. The semi-finals finish with all the losing couples dancing an all-skate for the one last spot.

Semifinal Songs

  1. Ella Fitzgerald & her Famous Orchestra – Jubilee Swing – An absolute high energy classic. This is the Chick Webb orchestra shortly after his death in 1939 – when Ella had inherited the band – and this album (Live at the Savoy 1939-1940) is a must-have for any swing DJs.
  2. Cab Calloway & his OrchestraShout Shout Shout -with the relentless driving swing once it gets started.
  3. Fletcher Henderson & his Orchestra – Big John Special – Fletcher Henderson was one of the finest arrangers going, and Big John Special is one of his seminal tracks. It’s just a fantastic track.
  4. Jimmie Lunceford – It’s Time to Jump and Shout – I nearly didn’t use this because of the confusingly long intro – but I think it makes up for that once it gets started with the lovely driving call-and-response sections.
  5. Lionel Hampton – Whoa Babe – Another classic – with so much texture from the beautiful instrumental syncopations at the start – all the rhythm from the vocals… and a star-studded cast of musicians behind it.
  6. Benny Goodman (feat. Harry James) – Sugarfoot Stomp – The only hard part about including Sugarfoot stomp is … which version to choose? I have a soft spot for Harry James. Enough said.

Finals

As with the Mix & Match – the amazing music in the finals was from Professor Cunningham and his Old School. It’d be wrong of me not to include a link to that, so here’s the full video for your enjoyment.

3 Comments

  1. Heidi said:

    I enjoyed to read some thoughts on competition DJing. It’s so much work! And underestimated by many.

    Other than that… that’s intersting, I know Harlem Stride and Jubilee Swing (2 versions on the Mosaic collection)? What’s what?

    That Sugarfoot Stomp is Benny Goodman’s band (yep, with Harry James).
    And I’d relable Hamp’s Flying Home (in your pt1 post, heat 2) as Charlie Barnet. 🙂

    Aug 19th, 2018
    Reply
    • Heidi said:

      sorry for my typos. I know Harlem Stride AS Jubilee Swing. Could it be mislabeled on the CD?

      Aug 20th, 2018
      Reply
    • Andy said:

      You’re absolutely right. For some reason, on Live at the Savoy, it’s mis-labelled as Harlem Stride (and vice-versa)

      Thanks also for the correct on Harry James also.

      I’ve updated the post.

      Aug 20th, 2018
      Reply

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