Category: Music

The first time I went to Herrang – which all those years ago was pretty much our only way of getting to quality Lindy Hop classes – I found a musical paradise. There was SO MUCH INCREDIBLE MUSIC that I’d never heard the like of before – and I came back home with songs like Jeep Jockey Jump and One O’Clock Jump ricocheting around in my brain. At that time, I had no idea what these songs even were – the word “swing” just suggested some guy called Glenn Miller, and Glenn Miller meant exactly one thing – In the Mood. I’d barely even heard of Count Basie… but I absolutely had to find out more.

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I was actually just looking for some recordings from the wonderfully named Club Hangover, and Google brought me here. Started in 1998, and run by the gentleman above – Dave Radlauer – there’s an incredible wealth of information to be found here about Jazz, Swing, and many of the great artists.

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We’re recently back from a wonderful week at Swing Summit (after five visits, still my favourite dance camp) – and as usual, I did a fair amount of DJing. I promised I’d put a set list up from one of those sessions, and this is it.

This was from the Saturday night, starting around midnight, and I’d say people weren’t in a high-energy mood. Up for dancing, but it wasn’t generally a crazy week, and this night was no exception – so I was playing it a little cautiously, but overall, things went well.

Music Set Lists

I’m sitting in Frankfurt Airport, chilling out after the wonderful intensity of Chase Festival, and I’m feeling inspired to jot down some thoughts about the allure of swing music. I mean – this music, above all, is the reason I dance… and given just how long I spend dancing to it, collecting it, DJing it, describing it, talking about it – I really ought to be able to tell people what’s so great about it. So here goes.

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OK – so yes – there’s a rhythm section… but in the main, this is a two man show between Barney Bigard and his clarinet with Arvell Shaw on bass – and Sid Catlett gently contributing some subtle percussion in the background.

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If you’re thinking of DJing, and you’re anything like me, it can all seem a bit overwhelming. What equipment should you use? How does everything plug together? What music should…

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I don’t really know why I do these. I think I have a certain awe for the people who can somehow see links between pieces of seemingly incongruous music, and make them work – so it pretty much goes without saying that I should try to do the same thing myself.

Anyway – I’ve always loved the Hudson Delange Orchestra – they played some great songs, including my favourite version of Mr Ghost – but their Definition of Swing has always bugged me, because it does have some amazing swinging sections once it gets going, but the pianist seems determined to remove every ounce of dancing potential the song might have by trying to send a single-note message in Morse Code all the way through. You mileage may vary.

And then I watched Luke Cage (which I highly recommend) – and on came O.D.B’s Shimmy Shimmy Ya – which is obviously a spiritual successor to Definition of Swing.

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