The Overflow, Backwash, Backlog, Logorrhea, Ad Hoc, Anyone-Can-Use, No-Word-Limit SPEAKEASY

March 5, 2007

A Time Machine, and a morally bizarre daydream…

Filed under: Radio Open Source Conversations — Nick @ 5:43 am

I was imagining what I would do with a time machine – but not a machine with unlimited range. Instead, this speculative time machine has a range of one century only. Now, if I could make only four stops (temporally speaking) using this machine, when would I choose to visit?

Keeping in mind that this is nothing more than a daydream concocted while running four miles listening in my Walkman to Gene Krupa & his Orchestra…

First, I’d wait until my life was nearing its actively pleasurable end; then, from least important to most important:
4. I’d make a stop in 1936 America to attend a performance of Benny Goodman & his Orchestra fronted by the Swing-perfect vocalist Helen Ward.
3. Another stop in either 1939 or 1940 to attend a performance of Duke Ellington & his Orchestra fronted by the sublime singer Ivie Anderson.
2a. A third stop in 1942 to attend a performance by Gene Krupa & his Orchestra fronted by trumpeter Roy ‘Little Jazz’ Eldridge and the MATCHLESS vocalist Anita O’Day.
2b. A flight across the pond to 1942 Europe. There I would pick up a Pole, a Jew, a Russian, and a Greek.
1. Once in the time machine, the five of us would stop off in 1912 Vienna. I’d show them how to return themselves to whenever they might choose without my having to be operating the machine.
Next, we’d locate a certain Austrian postcard painter, and I’d say, “There he is, fellas. Do whatever you want to him” – and then I’d probably pop right out of existence, since after the four of ‘em encountered the historically important painter, it’s unlikely my parents would have met.

But then, millions and millions of people ‘alive today’ suddenly wouldn’t be. So, what’s the ‘greater evil’?

What would you do? (Anyone?)

A Swing Era shuffle – 1932 – 1946

Filed under: Radio Open Source Conversations — Nick @ 4:14 am


This one’s another 120-minute (+) shuffle, but this time from a 113+ hour playlist. Note that even though this shuffle is dominated in places dominated by Duke and Benny Goodman, the variety of the other artists puts both Duke’s and Benny’s work into its proper historical perspective. (And yes, I selected the first song deliberately, not randomly. 😉 It’s a Swing set, after all. But everything after it was genuinely ‘shuffled’.)
“Shuffle” can beautifully offer this sort of historical perspective. “Shuffle” serves as a surrogate “radio” for me, 60 years after the era.

“Shuffle” has in fact helped me better appreciate the many different musicians, bandleaders, and singers of the pre-LP era. This same benefit applies to the Be-Bop era of the later 40’s, to the early 50’s, late 50’s, and even the early 60’s when ‘albums’ weren’t yet designed to be coherent entities but as opportunistic collections of musical material gauged as not quite good enough to be released as singles!

And an observation: this shuffle (and its ‘Classic era’ companion on this site) randomly omitted many other artists/combos in my collection. In fact, as I type on while readying this for posting, I’ve heard several major figures (like Count Basie, Jimmie Lunceford, Andy Kirk, and Glenn Miller) that didn’t play until after the 120 (+) minute time-frame I’d arbitrarily set. But, the beauty, of course, is that they’re all in there, emerging from this computer’s hard drive not ‘on cue’ but unexpectedly and (usually) delightfully.

Anyway…

1. “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” – Duke Ellington & his Orchestra, Ivie Anderson – vocal, 1932
2. “Ramblin’ On My Mind” – Robert Johnson, 1937
3. “Concerto For Cootie” – Duke Ellington & his Orchestra, 1940
4. “It’s Up To You” – Stuff Smith & his Orchestra, Stella Brooks – vocal, 1940
5. “Dusk” – Duke Ellington & his Orchestra, 1940
6. “That’s What You Think” – Gene Krupa & his Orchestra, Anita O’Day – vocal, 1942
7. “The Madam Swings It” – Gene Krupa & his Orchestra, 1939
8. “All Over Nothing At All” – Ella Fitzgerald & her Savoy Eight, 1937
9. “Wrappin’ It Up” – Benny Goodman & his Orchestra, 1938
10. “When The Roses Bloom Again” – Benny Goodman & his Orchestra, Peggy Lee – vocal, 1942
11. “C & A Blues” – Big Bill Broonzy, 1935
12. “Snootie Little Cutie” – Tommy Dorsey & his Orchestra, Frank Sinatra – vocal, 1942
13. “When Buddha Smiles” – Benny Goodman & his Orchestra, 1935
14. “Groovin’ High” – Benny Goodman Sextet with Charlie Christian, 1941
15. “Karussell” – Willi Stech und sein Grosses Unterhaltungsorchester, 1943
16. “I Found The Thrill Again” – The Mills Brothers, 1936
17. “I’ve Got My Fingers Crossed” – Louis Prima & his New Orleans Gang, 1936
18. “There’s No You” – Jo Stafford (vocal), Paul Weston & his Orchestra, 1945
19. “Shoot The Likker To Me, John Boy” – Artie Shaw & his Orchestra, Leo Watson – vocal, 1937
20. “Clothes Line Ballet” – Fats Waller, 1934
21. “Sweet and Slow” – The Mills Brothers, 1935
22. “Ghost of a Chance” – Mildred Bailey & her Orchestra, 1939
23. “It’s Up To You” – Gene Krupa Jazz Trio, 1946
24. “In A Little Spanish Town” – Miff Ferrie & his Ferrymen, 1944
25. “That Old Black Magic” – Ina Ray Hutton & her Orchestra, Stuart Foster – vocal, 1943
26. “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” – Chick Webb & his Orchestra, Ella Fitzgerald – vocal, 1938
27. “Polka Dot Rag” – Noble Sissle & his Orchestra, 1934
28. “New Orleans” – The Casa Loma Orchestra, 1933
29. “Otto, Make That Riff Staccato” – Gene Krupa Jazz Trio, Carolyn Grey – vocal, 1946
30. “Steeple Chase” – The Ramblers, 1944
31. “Green Eyes” – Gene Krupa & his Orchestra, Anita O’Day & Howard Dulany – vocals, 1941
32. “In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree” – Claude Hopkins, 1934
33. “Blues Jazz” – The Casa Loma Orchestra, 1932
34. “Boog It” – Cab Calloway & his Orchestra, 1940
35. “Lover, Come Back To Me”, Billie Holliday, 1944
36. “Something New” – Count Basie & his Orchestra, 1941
37. “Blue Murder” – Danny Polo & his Swing Stars, 1937
38. “Avalon” – Benny Goodman & Friends in concert at Carnegie Hall, January 16th, 1938
39. “More Than You Know” – Billie Holliday, 1939
40. “Beat Me Daddy Eight To The Bar” – The Andrews Sisters, 1940
41. “Show Your Linen Miss Richardson” – Benny Goodman & his Orchestra, Johnny Mercer – vocal, 1939
42. “Night and Day” – Quintette du Hot Club de France (w/ Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grapelli), 1938
43. “Trust In Me” – Mildred Bailey & her Orchestra, 1937
44. “Georgia On My Mind” – Fats Waller, 1941
45. “Japanese Sandman” – Dicky Wells & his Orchestra (w/ Django Reinhardt), 1937
46. “Stormy Weather” – Duke Ellington & his Orchestra, Ivie Anderson – vocal, 1940
47. “Let Me Off Uptown” – Gene Krupa & his Orchestra, Anita O’Day & Roy Eldridge – vocals, 1941 (The first recorded “inter-racial” duet)
48. “Sunday” – Benny Carter & his Orchestra, 1941

This list isn’t here to promote the artists listed – well, okay, in part it is, but not primarily.
Nor is it here to demonstrate my taste in music, since most jazz aficionados will likely recognize that the lister has the indiscriminating tastes of a gourmand rather than refined tastes of a gourmet. That’s in part because I am a gourmand in my musical tastes, and also because I’m a novice appreciator of ‘Classic’ jazz and Swing. Which implies the real point of this list:
The music of the back-to-back first and second ‘eras’ (‘Classic’ jazz & blues, and Swing) of recorded popular music was performed by bands or artists with fairly consistent styles. Each commercially available song was limited by the 78rpm platform to a maximum of about 3 and a quarter minutes. If one listens to a compilation CD of these artists’ 78’s, one hears a very enjoyable but very consistent sound. After three or four plays the novelty fades.

The jazz of this era wasn’t meant to be played exactly the same every time – it was meant to be DIFFERENT every time! This doesn’t mean that the old 78’s were meant to be thrown out after a single airing. But consider that many if not most Swing Era jazz lovers had access to live music – in dance halls more commonly than in ‘concert halls’ – and that the records they consumed were in some ways advertisements for the bands that toured the nation.
Without a time machine, we of this century have no chance to experience the bands of that era “in concert” (apart from a few rarities like Benny Goodman’s seminal 1938 Carnegie Hall show, preserved now on CD). Consider next the limitations of the sound reproduction technology of first two eras of popular music on record. Then ask yourself if you’d rather hear compilation CDs of those artists “in order” forever – or if instead you’d love unpredictable, fresh sequences of those many outstanding artists’ surviving performances.

My interest in both ‘Classic’ jazz and Swing was minimal until I began to toy with the possibilities of using the ‘shuffle’ option to mix them into a ‘cocktail’ – producing a different taste every time, even though each cocktail shares the same roster of ingredients. My Classic jazz and Swing CD collection grew, in only a few brief months, from a pair of infrequently played novelties to several dozen multiple-disc box-sets and many other single discs.

The moral? “Shuffle” didn’t hurt my appreciation of the art of the 1920’s, 30’s, & 40’s – it stimulated it. Without the “Shuffle” option, I’d have likely remained largely ignorant of the glorious musical gems of these magnificent artists.

If others are applying the ‘Shuffle’ paradigm to other, inappropriate arts, well, that’s their problem. Shuffle isn’t the problem. No musical listening option can be ‘bad’ for music. Instead, if “popular culture is destroying art”, I suggest that television is the likeliest culprit.

(See: Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television and Amusing Ourselves To Death)

March 4, 2007

A Classic Era Jazz & Blues shuffle – 1917-1931 (more or less)

Filed under: Radio Open Source Conversations — Nick @ 9:32 pm

Here’s a 120-minute shuffle from a 23-and-a-half hour playlist. NONE of these songs could ever have been envisaged as elements of ‘albums’, since albums didn’t exist until the advent of 33 1/3 turntables. Note the variety of performers in this 1/12th slice of my admittedly modest ‘Classic’ collection (and yes, it’s currently heavy on King Louis Satchmo & the supreme Duke E.: the 20th century American Mozart).

1. “Chimes Blues” – Louis Armstrong, 1923
2. “Some Of These Days I’ll Be Gone” – Charley Patton, date uncertain
3. “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South” – Louis Armstrong, 1931
4. “Hit Me In The Nose Blues” – Ozie Ware & The Whoopie Makers (with Duke Ellington), 1929
5. “St. Louis Blues” – Warren Mills & His Blues Serenaders, 1929
6. “Muskrat Ramble” – Louis Armstrong, 1926
7. “Mean Old Bedbug Blues” – Bessie Smith, 1927
8. “Misty Mornin’” – Duke Ellington & his Orchestra, 1928
9. “The Blues I Love To Sing” – Duke Ellington & his Orchestra, Adelaide Hall – vocal, 1927
10. “Just an Hour of Love” – Benny Meroff & his Orchestra (with Bix Beiderbecke), 1927
11. “There’s A Cradle In Caroline” – The Broadway Bellhops (with Bix Beiderbecke), 1927
12. “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue” – Louis Armstrong, 1927
13. “Tiger Rag” (1) – The Mills Brothers, 1931
14. “Auburn Ave. Stomp” – J. Neal Montgomery, 1929
15. “King Porter Stomp” – Jelly Roll Morton, 1926
16. “Move Over” – Duke Ellington & his Orchestra, 1928
17. “Humpty Dumpty” – Frankie Trumbauer & his Orchestra, 1927
18. “Casa Loma Stomp” – The Casa Loma Orchestra, 1930
19. “Double Check Stomp” – Duke Ellington & his Cotton Club Orchestra, 1930
20. “Sail On Little Girl” – Leadbelly, date uncertain
21. “Doin’ The Frog” – Duke Ellington & his Cotton Club Orchestra, 1928
22. “How Come You Like Me Like You Do?” – Florence Bristol, 1924
23. “Morning Sun Blues” – Mary Johnson, date uncertain
24. “Prayer of Death” (Part 2) – Charley Patton, date uncertain
25. “Pick a Bale o’ Cotton” – Leadbelly, date uncertain
26. “Things About Comin’ My Way” – Mississippi Sheiks, date uncertain, but no later than 1931
27. “Lazy River” – Hoagy Carmichael & his Orchestra, 1930
28. “Swamp Blues” – Fletcher Henderson & his Orchestra, 1927
29. “Song of Dawn” – Jack Hart & His Band, 1930
30. “When the Levee Breaks” – Memphis Minnie, 1929
31. “You Rascal You” – The Mills Brothers, 1931
32. “Blues of the Vagabond” – The Harlem Footwarmers (Duke and his lads by another name), 1929
33. “Sugar Foot Stomp” – Devonshire Restaurant Dance Band, 1927
34. “Come On Boys Let’s Do That Messin’ Round” – Blind Blake, date uncertain
35. “Dry Bone Shuffle” – Blind Blake, date uncertain
36. “Bessie Couldn’t Help It” – Billy Cotton & his Band, 1930
37. “The Blues With A Feeling” – Duke Ellington & his Orchestra, 1928
38. “Leaving Blues” – Leadbelly, date uncertain
39. “I Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle” – Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, & Fletcher Henderson, 1925
40. “Black And Tan Fantasy” – Mills’ Ten Blackberries (another Ellington guise), 1930
41. “Grandma’s Farm” – Big Bill Broonzy, 1930
42. “Pail In My Hand” – Edna Wilson, 1926

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