December 6, 2009

Set List Dec. 5 NYSDS with HRO

I had a wonderful time djing at the NYSDS dance last night with the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra. I played everything from Bix Beiderbecke and Sister Rosetta Tharpe to Count Basie and Artie Shaw, to The Boswell Sisters and The Cangelosi Cards. Playing for people who truly love to dance is a real joy.

The difference between playing for a crowd of younger "lindyhoppers" and older "dancers" is that the older dancers have a context for ballads, and for songs like Frenesi and St. Louis blues that have two different alternating rhythms, and they generally have a different approach to dancing itself. The older dancers know that ballads are for swaying with your friend or loved one, not for doing fancy bluesy stuff. The older dancers can start fox-trotting or cha-cha-ing when the rhythm switches up. They treat dancing like a natural and obvious extension of the fact that there is music playing, not some extra mad skill they took a million private lessons trying to be the best at.

One way is not better than the other. Younger dancers have developed this wonderful art form and brought it to new heights of creativity and ridiculous awesomeness. Private lessons are useful and that fancy blues dancing can be fun, but there is absolutely a lot to be said for good old fashioned swaying and foxtrotting.

1. Singin' The Blues, Bix Beiderbecke
2. Beale Street Blues, Jelly Roll Morton
3. Your Feet's Too Big, Fats Waller
4. Down By The Riverside, Sister Rosetta Tharpe
5. Begin The Beguine, Artie Shaw
6. That's How Rhythm Was Born, The Boswell Sisters
7. Star Dust, Louis Armstrong
8. St. Louis Blues, Louis Armstrong
9. Boogie Woogie, Count Basie & Jimmy Rushing

10. Corner Pocket, Count Basie
11. Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody, Louis Prima & Keely Smith
12. Chant Of The Groove, Fats Waller
13. Frenesi, Artie Shaw
14. When I Take My Sugar To Tea, The Boswell Sisters
15. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Dean Martin
16. My Blue Heaven, The Cangelosi Cards

17. Yes Indeed, Tommy Dorsey
18. Trombone Butter, Dinah Washington
19. Ain't That Love, Ray Charles
20. Lazy River, Louis Armstrong

1 comment:

  1. i completely agree about swaying . simplify , simplify , simplify ! sometimes i try to pretend i'm at a junior high school prom ( but better at it ) . i rarely hear songs for slow dancing ( and not provocatively sexual " blues " dancing ) at lindy events . i think it reflects a fundamental discomfort with our bodies an anxiety about how to fill the time between " moves " , an inability to enjoy being close to someone else ( and in a technical sense , perhaps a lack of control over " quality of movement " , moving within the body ) . less is not less when it's right ; more is less when it's too much .