December 20, 2009

Currently Listening To...

What A Little Moonlight Can Do
The Scandinavian Half Breeds

Wee Midnight Hours
Blind Willie McTell

That's How Rhythm Was Born
The Boswell Sisters

Sugar Blues
Fats Waller

Jelly Roll Morton

How Many More Years
Howlin' Wolf

December 10, 2009

The Pearls: Three Minute Masterpieces of Early Jazz

Grandpa Musselman and His Syncopators will be performing tonight from 8-10 pm at Barge Music in DUMBO. The concert is called, "The Pearls: Three Minute Masterpieces of Early Jazz", and will include classic works by the first jazz composers: Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, King Oliver, and others. The Syncopators will be debuting Arthur Schutt's semi-classical composition "Delirium" as recored by Miff Mole and Red Nichols.

I am extremely excited about this concert as three amazing musicians are performing: Matt Musselman, Gordon Au, and Rob Adkins! I haven't had the pleasure of hearing the other musicians on the gig, Vince Nero, Bryan Reeder, and Will Clark, but I am looking forward to it!

The Pearls: Three Minute Masterpieces of Early Jazz
Thursday December 10, 2009, 8 pm to 10 pm

2 Cadman Plaza W.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
A/C to High St. or F to York St. or 2/3 to Clark St.

Tickets are $25, $20 for seniors, and $10 for students.

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

November 11, 2009

Baby Soda Tonight @ Cameo

Come on out tonight to Cameo at the Lovin' Cup to see Baby Soda Jazz Band, 10:30.

Baby Soda! Developed by hoboes, perfected through science.
The Lovin' Cup, a cozy little cafe that features great food and awesome music.

The Lovin' Cup
93 N. 6 St. 
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Sly Blue at Session 73

Sly Blue at the Speakeasy

Due to unfortunate structural problems at the speakeasy space that Sly Blue had been playing at previously, they moved their Tuesday night dance uptown to Session 73, a lovely bar/restaurant with a bandstand and a dance floor on 73rd and 1st avenue. I hadn't made it up there since they left the original space and finally went out last night to get my dance on.

As I walked in the band was playing Blue Moon. I sank, coat and all, into the cushy couch directly below the bandstand and closed my eyes. The music swelled over me. I was so happy to be there. Sly Blue has such a beautiful, clear sound. This means that the fun, happy songs are a joy to dance to, but it also means that the love ballads go directly to the heart. I sat there with my eyes closed until the song was over. 

The musicians on the stand last night were Marko Gazic (guitar, vocals), Sam Hoyt (trumpet), Matt Musselman (trombone), Peter Maness (bass), and Chris Norton (trumpet, vocals).

Sly Blue busks in Central Park

I had never heard Sam Hoyt's tumpet playing before. I was blown away! He is a perfect counterpart to Matt Musselman and brings a certain madness to the otherwise dapper sound of the band. Chris Norton, a trumpet player who is also something of a madman, arrived for the second set. The two of them fed off of each other's energy. The dynamic between the three horns in general was incredible. Each would take a solo and when Marko signaled them to take it on home, they would weave together perfectly for a smashing finish. 

During the band break more dancers began to arrive. Actually, there was quite a crowd. Sly Blue has been trying to get dancers out to this location since they started there, and the word is finally catching on. Session 73 is definitely becoming a solid weekly event. I recommend it to dancers, musicians, and music lovers alike. 

Sly Blue at Session 73
9 - 12
no cover
good floor
great music
is now being added to Weekly Gigs

Tin Pan Subway Lindy Bomb!

Jesse Selengut of Tin Pan Blues Band says,

"Tin Pan is at it again. We're hosting another incredible Lindy Bomb this time in Penn Station. 

The location is wierd, great, awesome and dancer friendly. It's in Penn Station in the LIRR section over towards the A,C or E subway lines. There's a starbucks over there and we'll be across the way throwing down the jams. 

It's FREE! It's unusual. It is our culture on display in a very public way. Come Represent!"

The Lindy Bomb is today, November 11. So come out out to dance or just to listen!

October 16, 2009

Set List From My DJ Debut at Frim Fram

DJing at Frim Fram was very fun! Posted here is my set list from my 1 hour spot, 10-11:

1. It Don't Mean A Thing, Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington
2. Chant Of The Grove, Fats Waller
3. Twenty Four Robbers, Fats Waller & His Rhythm
4. Putting On the Ritz, The Cangelosi Cards
5. One O Clock Jump, Count Basie
6. Sugar Foot Stomp, Fletcher Henderson
7. Long Gone John, Gordon Webster
8. Lazy River, Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra
9. Blue Yodel 2, The Cangelosi Cards
10. Weary Blues, Louis Armstrong
11. Beale Street Blues, Jelly Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers
12. Bill Bailey, Gordon Webster
13. Sermonette, Gordon Webster
14. Your Feet's Too Big, Fats Waller
15. When I Get Low I Get High, Meschiya Lake & The Loose Marbles
16. St. Louis Blues, Louis Armstrong
17. Joshua Fit The Battle of Jerico, Sidney Bechet

October 15, 2009

DJ Debut at Fram Fram Jam

Tonight at Frim Fram, four new DJs will be debuting! 
"Ladybug" Lala Ghahreman 9-10
Eve Polich (Me!) 1o-11
Felix Petri 1-12
Jennie "RedJenn" Shortway

Frim Fram Jam
$8 and $5 for students with ID
Club 412 at 412 Eigth Avenue and 31st Street
4rth Floor, 9:00
for more information go to

Frim Fram is a weekly local swing dance. For those of you who want to take a class, Michael Lenneville will be teaching a lesson entitled "Your First Dips and Tricks" from 8-9 pm.

Me DJing at White Heat

From me you can expect some good old fashioned New Orleans jazz, tracks from the new Cangelosi Cards record as well as the new Gordon Webster record. Classic Basie and Fats Waller will mingle with Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, and maybe even some Bob Wills. I can't wait to hear what the other new DJs will play. See ya'll tonight!

October 1, 2009

Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horn Jazz Band

As we all know, Meschiya Lake was in town for a little while. She played a handful of gigs at the awesome Radegast Hall and Biergarten in Williamsburg. Tamar Korn even showed up the most recent one and sang "Everybody Loves My Baby" with Meschiya. I was able to attend two of the shows and make a few videos. 

I've been to a lot of trad jazz shows at the beergarden, but Meschiya and her band, The Little Big Horns, managed to get everyone, even jaded hipsters, up and dancing. The entire open area in front of the stage was filled with lindy-hoppers as well as random "non-dancer" civilians all dancing together. It was a wonderful thing to see!

I don't know all the musicians that played with her, so I'll update this post with their names soon. Also, I can't figure out if the band is called Meschiya Lake and Her Little Big Horns OR Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns Jazz Band OR something else. It is a mystery.

Here is a video and a few pictures from this Tuesday:

It is too dark to see anything in this video, just listen.

September 22, 2009

Jazz Age Lawn Party this Sunday!!!


Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra
11:00 AM TO 6:00 PM
ADMISSION $5 (Children Under 7 Free)

In the event of heavy rain, the rain date is Sunday, October 4th

Grab a pinic blanket, some sandwiches and lemonade, and head out to Governor's Island this Sunday! There will be live music provided by Michael Arenella's Dreamland Orchestra, a 1920's motorcar exhibition, charleston lessons by lindy-hop legend Roddy Caravella, vintage clothing and milliners, Tug O' War, Parade of Hats, a Pie Recipie Conest, food provided by Cerle Rouge, and cocktails served by St. Germain Elderflower Liquer. Mmmm.

Check out the ferry schedule.

September 6, 2009

Cangelosi Cards Go To Europe!

Here are some pictures, courtesy of George Yi, a wonderful dancer, dance teacher, photographer, and traveling companion. I was only traveling with the band through Sweden, but he stayed on for Iceland, Lithuana, and a few other countries. He is the only one to have documented their tour in almost complete entirety! You can contact him through his website:

The band plays at Bar Bedlam at Herrang Dance Camp

Tamar, Mimi, and Naomi

The band plays the stage in the ballroom.

Aaron and I sell CDs outside the ballroom.

The first busking spot in Stockholm.

The band plays a square in the old city in Stockholm.

A second installment is in the works. It takes so long to format this stuff!

The Scandinavian Half-Breeds

It has come to my attention, that a new band in town, called the Scandinavian Half-Breeds, is awesome. I will keep you updated on their movements. In fact, they too have a new CD.

Matt Davidson (guitar, mandolin, vocals)
Jordan Hyde (guitar)
Ben Fox (bass)
Pete "The Blur" Pezzimenti (drums)

The Mona's release..."Live At Mona's"!

The Mona's, a traditional jazz band that plays at Mona's (Avenue B btwn 13th and 14th) every Tuesday night (10:30 pm-3 am), has released an album entitled Mona's Hot Four: Live at Mona's. The record was, obviously, recorded at Mona's.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Mona's phenomenon, the band is made up of bandleader Dennis Lichtman (clarinet), Gordon Webster (piano), Nick Russo (guitar, banjo), and Cassidy Holden (bass). Yes, three out of four of these incredible musicians are members of the Cangelosi Cards. The music is early jazz, but don't expect a Cangelosi sound, the band's style is strictly their own. jazzier and less folky.

This video is for listening.

The gig is run as a jam session, and after a certain quota of serious-let's-play-just-us time, other musicians start sitting in. On any given night, you might find two or three upright basses playing at once, several horns, an assortment of different vocalists from Katie Hasty of Numbers and Letters to Jesse Selengut of Tin Pan, to Tamar Korn of the Cangelosi Cards. 

Musicians of all ages and musical persuasions drop by, from incredible slap-bass legends, to young musicians just discovering the scene, to greats such as Dan Levinson (and even once, Vince Giordano!).

In a reflection of this diversity the record has some special guests: Tamar Korn of the Cangelosi Cards, Dan Levinson of the Nighthawks, and Rob Adkins and Jesse Selengut of Tin Pan.

You can currently find this record only at Mona's on Tuesday nights. 10:30 til 3.

White Heat with Loose Marbles, Sep. 16

For those of you who don't know what White Heat is, it is a every-other-weekly dance run by Richard Kurtzer. At White Heat, dancers can find faster music than at a more typical New York City event. Balboa, Shag, and Fast Lindy dancers find a haven here, but you don't have to specialize in fast dancing to have a good time. 

DJs are the norm, but Richard is starting to reach out to the incredible early jazz bands that inhabit this fair city. A special treat, all the way from New Orleans, The Loose Marbles will be playing the September 16th White Heat. 

Admission is $10.
White Heat takes place at Chelsea Studios, 151 West 26th Street.
9:00 pm - 11:00 pm.

See you there!

August 27, 2009

Cangelosi Records for Sale!

You, yes, you, can own your very own Cangelosi Cards CD! I know, it sounds like the impossible dream, but the impossible has become a reality. The record, entitled The Cangelosi Cards: Clinton Street Recordings contains eight tracks:

My Blue Heaven
It's Like Reaching For The Moon
Blue Yodel No. 2
September Song
Putting On The Ritz
Treasures Untold
and Anniversary Song

all played by the full eight piece band:
Jake Sanders, guitar
Tamar Korn, vocals
Cassidy Holden, bass
Matt Musselman, trombone
Dennis Lichtman, clarinet and mandolin
Marcus Millius, harmonicas
Karl Meyer, fiddle
and Gordon Webster, piano

The record is wonderful! I've been DJing a few of the tunes and have gotten some pretty funny reactions when people first hear Tamar's voice coming through the speakers. There are some nice, danceable tracks, but this is not a CD aimed primarily at dancers, this is a complex bundle of tunes than can give the listener the gift of ears. This is a record to put on at home with a cup of tea and no competing stimulus. This is a record that will make both your ears, heart, and dancing stronger. 

The Cards have changed how we dance, but they've also changed how we listen to music. I've been listening to jazz since the day I was born, but listening to the Cards over the past two years has opened up my mind and given me the greatest ears I could hope to obtain. 

My favorite tune is September Song. When the band was deciding which take to put on the record, they were deciding between a technically-better sounding version, and a more emotional version that better expressed the sentiment of the song. The more perfect-but-less-"perfect" one made it onto the record, a clear demonstration of what makes this band and their first record so damn good.

While the physical record is not immediately purchasable online, I do believe you can download it. those of you who do not live in or around NYC would do well to click here.

So if you want one, simply track down the band at one of its many weekly gigs. The record costs ten dollars. 

March 10, 2009

Currently Listening To...

Rockin' Chair
Jack Teagarden

Earl Hines on piano and Jack Teagarden on trombone playing with The Rhythm Kings.

Basin Street Blues
Jack Teagarden

I Get The Blues When It Rains
Annette Hanshaw
Annette Hanshaw

Doin' The Uptown Lowdown
Abe Lyman & His Orchestra

What's That Taste?
Tampa Red
Tampa Red

February 25, 2009

Blue Rhythm Fantasy

More Vince Giordano related events...I read in his newsletter that the band will be playing the arrangements of Chappie Willet at the CUNY Graduate Center on March 25th for free! The center is located at 365 Fifth Avenue and 34th Street and the concert goes from 8:00 to 9:45.

Wednesday, March 25th
8:00pm – 9:45pm
Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks
Fifteen-piece band playing the arrangements of Chappie Willet
at CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue & 34th Street
Elebash Recital Hall
New York, NY
Free and open to the public!

Pee Wee Stomp!

This Sunday I will be attending the Pee Wee Stomp. A friend of the band invited myself and a few other dancers to come up and dance with the band. We are very excited! It is not often we get to dance to the likes of Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks.

Event Details:

Sunday, March 1st 
Presented by New Jersey Jazz Society at the
Pee Wee Stomp
Birchwood Manor
111 North Jefferson Road
Whippany, NJ
1:00 P.M. - 1:45 P.M. Danny Tobias Quintet
2:00 P.M. - 2:45 P.M. Dan Levinson and his Swing Wing
3:15 P.M. - 4:00 P.M. Warren Vaché Trio
4:15 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks

Tickets are $25 in Advance for NJJS members and $30 for non-members.
At the door you will pay $30 as a member and $35 as a non-member.
Students with ID are just ten dollars at the door!

You can order tickets by phone at 1-800-303-NJJS (6557)

February 20, 2009

Video and Pictures: Mona's

I took this video a few weeks ago at Mona's. You can't see anything, the point is just to listen...listen through the darkness and shaky camera (because I was dancing about).

Here they are playing Over In That Glory Land. They play every Tuesday night from 11 until 3 or 4 am. It's a jam session, so a lot of guys sit in.
The musicians in this video are Jesse Selengut (trumpet, vocals), Rob Adkins (upright bass), Gordon Webster (piano), Musselman (trombone), Dennis Lichtman (clarinet), and I think Nick Russo was on banjo but it may have been Clifton Hyde or both, and Cassidy Holden on another upright bass. There may be more...

Photographs by Cassidy Holden

Peter, Gordon, Dennis



Gordita (Yes, I said it.)

Rob and Peter, two of my favorite bass players.

I think that about sums it up.

January 13, 2009

Video: Louis Armstrong and Johnny Cash

Louis and Johnny a singin' and a blowin'.