Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What's this all about?

The idea for this came out of my move from New Orleans to Switzerland. I am a swing dancer and a musician, and in New Orleans I was able to dance almost every night to great live music. In Zurich, there are no traditional jazz/swing bands to speak of, and many of the DJs who play for dancers make... interesting choices. In the interest of encouraging people to listen better, dance better, and understand the history more, my wife and I taught a music class for dancers. We could only touch on the most basic concepts in the time that we had, and I wished I could talk about some of the great recordings. So, that's what this is about. I learned so much by being able to watch live bands play every night. Not everyone has that chance, and I'd like to share what I learned.

I intend this as a resource for swing dancers, but I don't want to limit it to dancers. That is part of the reason for the title. I specifically did not want to use the words "jazz," "swing," or "lindy." I just want to talk about quality music. The syncopated kind. You know, for kids. I also resisted calling it anything like "song of the week," because I didn't want to be locked into a particular schedule. Time will tell whether that was a good decision.

"There are two kinds of music.  Good music, and the other kind."  -Duke Ellington

 I think I should also say something here to answer the question of who, exactly, I think I am. I'm a jazz enthusiast. I'm a mediocre swing dancer and musician. That's all. If you don't agree with something I claim, or think that my ignorance is showing... well, you may be right. It's going to happen.

Regarding the blog format: I chose it because I thought that Facebook posts would be too limiting. But I still want to have the kind of discussion that Facebook fosters. So, my plan is to post detailed essays here, with multiple sound and video clips linked. I will then post a link to a Facebook page, along with a single clip. The dedicated can read it all here, but I'm hoping the less-dedicated will get something good out of the Facebook summaries, and that there will be some debate over there.

The posts may take different forms, but I intend to examine either a song/artist or a broad theme with each one.  A big inspiration for this is the sadly-unavailable Schikele Mix.

 The first post will be up in a few days. In the meantime, listen to this. No, really listen. I know you've already heard it 1,000 times. That's the point.

Song link: It Don't Mean a Thing

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