Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by pygmalion, May 9, 2004.
WELL SAID jon!!!! And so right on!
Don't forget that Swing got a big popularity boost in the '90s, and what we're seeing today is quite possibly momentum. Remember Zoot Suit Riot? Cherry Poppin Daddies? Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, etc? Lot's of press reports of "the younger generation rediscovering dance", zoot suits, overcrowded college dance courses, etc.
Partner dancing in general took a major hit during the cultural upheavals of the '60's, disco warmed things back up a little bit in the late '70s, and the latest "spike" has been Swing (wonder what lit the fuse...). Those of us in our 30's to 60's are stuck in between the "neo-swingers" and the originals. To get partner dance back on the social radar screen, it has to start with the young'uns, most 30-to-60-somethings are time-deprived parents and employees. The young will age, their dancing will slow, and hopefully fill out the "dance card" again. Viva Le Swing and La(?) Salsa!!!
Here in Orange County, the ECS/Lindy scene cuts across all ages, so you have a room full of youngsters, grayhairs, and every shade inbetween. Including one gentleman who was an Enswine (technical term for "Ensign") at the end of WWII (I'll let you do the math). In fact, young girls often ask me, a grayhair, to dance.
And even though, I'll grant you, we need to take a few more breaks than the youngsters do, we can still make it around the block plenty enough times.
I think being at my age (32) and with the cohorts I intersect (undergrad to graduate student to "adult"), I am probably a swing-tweener then. I really do like both, but I certainly get a bit intimidated by the younger crowd doing lindy and the older crowd doing WCS. Of course, it doesn't stop me because I also have a ballroom-dance mentality where you can just play anything and I'll go with it: lindy, WCS, cha-cha, or even salsa (when they play one). Heck, I'll foxtrot or quickstep if I think it's proper.
I agree otherwise that like attracts like, at least age-wise. But every once in a while, I would not mind being some young lindyhopping girl's westie sugar-daddy... (Of course, I'd have to make a lot more money to qualify as a sugar-daddy. And I'd have to be much more a flirt.)
I haven't seen teenagers at the dance events I go to in the Bay Area, but I was excited to hear about the swing crowd being mostly teenagers in this topic title (although the topic was posted as a complaint about this fact...)
I see it this way... that when teenagers and high schoolers take to an activity, it means it's becoming mainstream. This is exciting!! Really! If you want to know where the cultural landscape is shifting, you have to look to the kids and teenagers. Before, social and ballroom dance seemed to be something people weren't exposed to until college or after.
I got introduced to social ballroom dance during the 90s swing craze. I think swing is just the easiest dance to become interested in first because it's fun and exciting, especially for the younger folks. From swing, I then got into other dances, and I'm sure the teenagers will also start moving into other dance forms as well.
For me, dancing is actually the main social activity where I get to interact (and dance) with people of most age groups, from about 18 to 73, though mostly in the 20 to 35 range, unlike most other activities and communities which are homogeneous in age. We shouldn't let this be a detractor taking us away from a dance scene, but try to embrace it. We don't interact with people of other age groups enough these days.
Does that happen to be Cornelius? I hope I got his name right. He restores WWII vehicles, etc. He came to one of my dances in KC when visiting his son who was stationed at Whiteman Air Force base in Warrensbrg, MO.
It's Clint; I don't know his last name. He was an fighter pilot (an aviator, actually) assigned to his first carrier and had been part of a successful air raid against the US Army Air Corps in Panama (just for practice). He had just started steaming out of San Francisco for action in the West Pacific when the Japanese surrendered. He says it was because they had heard that he was coming to fight them.
What is neo swing?
You could say it's music played by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Brian Setzer, and other bands which play "swing", though it sounds like it has a straight beat, more like rock. If anyone wants to jump in and add to my definition feel free to do so. Also, neo, in my opinion, doesn't give much to play with.
Neo-swing (or swing nouveau as I call it... after years of French, hey) is mostly the newer rock bands as mentioned before that do mostly swing. It's sorta funny... it's like Rockabilly (like the Stray Cats, of which Brian Setzer was part) meets Big Band. The nice part is that many of the "classic" swing songs are being covered into really nice orchestrations. Not to mention, the music is in stereo and digitally recorded.
Of course I also would not mind a few nods to the original big band groups and up to the 50's and 60's swing generation in a swing playlist. Usually the DJ's will accommodate that, but again... we're back to why some of the swing dancers like certain time periods of swing dancing. Heck, Mozart is Mozart no matter where you play it and when you record it... so I find this snobbishness a bit intriguing.
Not really. Mozart predated the re-design of most musical instruments to make them louder. In Beethovan's time, musicians started breaking out of the old patronage system and making their money playing to audiences in concert halls. The bigger the hall, the more tickets you could sell, but the instruments had been designed for more intimate audiences (ie, smaller and closer to the orchestra). So they redesigned the instruments to play loudly enough to reach the back of the auditorium.
So Mozart on period instruments sounds different than on modern instruments. Why, I've even heard Mozart reduced to Muzak, which is not pretty!
Of course, I personally disavow any snobbishness [grin].
I would guess that for most it would a matter of how the band interprets the song. Purists would not want modern stylings to worm their way in, while others might enjoy the band having a little fun with the music. I mean, this is supposed to be fun, right?
I'm relatively new to dancing and swing music moves me! It physically gets me moving. Swing Classic especially (ie, 30's & 40's). If the new music does the same for me then great, if not then there's something missing.
Other than that, there's the fun of rediscovering how lively they were in the past. Why, even in 1938 Ella Fitzgerald (I'm pretty sure it was her in the recording I heard) was singing about her love for "rock and roll".
Fair point on the Mozart/Beethoven point (in terms of period pieces). Certainly hearing a viola da gamba being played at Bach's St. Matthew's Passion at a Cleveland Orchestra concert was quite an experience. Of course, I'm one who would appreciate hearing the originals (the "composer's cut" if you will) as I would anyone else covering them since with newer instruments. Not everyone is like that though, and ... well... it's too bad.
(We've covered Beethoven covers in ballroom already, so I need not want to rehash that.)
But good for you if you are willing and interested in going back to the past and hear Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington and the "classic" jazz artists during the Big Band period. I think it does make you appreciate the newer covers better. I didn't know who Louis Prima was and thought for my naive time that David Lee Roth really composed "I Ain't Got Nobody." To this day, I try to correct people from thinking Brian Setzer wrote "Jump Jive and Wail".
Warning: this is completely off topic.
Did you hear about the Wynton Marsalis experiment where he went back and recorded period music with period recording equipment? It's been a while since the NPR story. If I remember correctly, he was recording some W.C. Handy music.
Wow! I wouldn't say it sounded great; the quality was limited by the existing technology. But it was quite educational to hear the difference between simulated period recordings and modern day recordings and to speculate about the effects of technology on the contemporary music we're hearing. Hmm. 8)
[we seem to have drifted way way off topic. or maybe not so much.]
i don't care when it was recorded. I care if it swings. Someone on the last page said it: are they swingin' the beats or hitting them dead on, like rock and roll?
Modern artists who "swing" their swing music: George Gee, Bill Elliott for two. The other "neo-swing" folks previously mentioned: not so much (swing, that is).
I found out who Louis Prima was when Disney's "Jungle Book" first came out (yes, I am that gray).
How many people know that Santana's "Oye Como Va" is actually a Tito Fuente song?
How many people know that "Blue Moon", a Sha Na Na standard, is a 40's standard?
Or that the Doors' "Whiskey Bar" is a Kurt Weil song? Kurt Weil is the German composer who wrote "Das Moritat von Mackie Messer" ("Mack the Knife") for the 30's play and movie "Die Drei-Groschen Oper" ("The Three Penny Opera"). Or that Lotte Lenya was his wife and an actress in the movie? Or that she was present when Louis Armstrong recorded the American version of the song, for which occasion he added her name to surprise and honor her? BTW, you saw her in the second Bond film, "From Russia With Love", as the Soviet officer working for Spectre.
For some reason, after my post I was thinking of "Minnie the Moocher". When I saw "The Blues Brothers" soon as it first hit HBO, Cab Calloway's (yes, he was in that movie) performance of "Minnie the Moocher" meant a lot more to me because a couple years or so before I had seen the original 30's [?] movie that scene had been based on, right down to the same white tuxedos. Now, how many of the people who have seen "Blues Brothers" had any idea? Or even knew who "that old guy" was?
My favorite line from the movie was before their gig at the cowboy bar and they ask the waitress what kind of music their customers like and she twangs, "Why both kinds; Country AND Western!"
One of my favorite memories of our younger son was him sitting impassively watching "Blues Brothers" on TV. I asked him what he was watching and he told me. Then he added very dead-pan, "They say it's funny." Yes, he did find it funny, but he was just reporting what the announcer had said about it.
When I saw Tito Puente in concert several years ago, he was so funny. He said that, when Oye Como Va got so popular, he used to get annoyed when people asked him why he was playing a Santana song. Then he started getting royalty checks. THEN, he started saying, "yes, I'm playing a Santana song ... all the way to the bank!" :lol: :lol:
Tito Puente was a funny man. I'm so glad I saw him play. Just by chance. It was a freebie concert on a weekend when I had nothing else to do. That turned out to be on my top ten list of best concerts I've ever seen. 8)
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