Although it’s been cooler lately the venue was still quite warm and muggy – I was playing second after the birthday/welcome jam. It was a fairly small crowd at the start of the night after the lesson but things picked up pretty quickly after that.
I didn’t really think I played that well – it’s my first actual dance gig in a while and I’ve been buying too much music so I really need to consolidate. There was too many new acquisitions that I wanted to work into my set. It’s also a fairly short gig so I felt like I hadn’t really found the groove before it was time to start wrapping things up. Nevertheless the floor was generally full and everybody else seemed to be having fun.
I Love Being Here With You – Barbara Morrison – Live at the 9:20 Special – 155BPM – 3:07
The teachers were using the Ernestine Anderson version in the class so I thought this would make a nice opener and get people dancing after the welcome/birthday jam.
Long Gone John – Gordon Webster – Happy When I’m With You – 144BPM – 3:57
I wanted to throw another well known tune in there to try and balance out the less new stuff that I was wanting to play. This track has almost reached overplayed status here in Sydney, but that’s cause it is quite a good track.
16 Tonnes – Jacques Hellian and Jean Louis Tristan – Swing Party – 130BPM – 2:30
Everyone knows the Tennessee Ernie Ford version of this song, though it hasn’t gotten much playtime in recent months. This french version has a very similar arrangement and went down nicely.
Tuxedo Junction – Glenn Miller Orchestra – Chesterfield Broadcasts – 112BPM – 4:28
Too slow, too muddy and too long, I should have played some early 1940’s Duke Ellington.
Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy – Stan Kenton – Intermission Riff – 124BPM – 2:36
To keep the music oldish, well-known and cut the time down I played this one.
Shout Sister Shout! – Shout Sister Shout – Hit that Jive Jack – 141BPM – 2:46
Another new acquisition and another well known song. I really like this version but I feel like the band needs a washboard (though this probably has more to do with my own washboard aspirations than anything else).
You Better Watch Yourself, Bub – Catherine Russell – Sentimental Streak – 167BPM – 2:57
I wanted to kick the pace up a bit. I’ve also been playing a lot of Catherine Russell since since I got back from the States last year. Virtually every single set of mine has one of her tracks in it.
C-Jam Blues – Gordon Webster – Live in Philadelphia – 170BPM – 4:12
Keeping the pace up and a well known song – but by the end of this one people were getting tired. The floor had started to empty out a bit so it was time to bring it back down a little.
Lavender Coffin – Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra – 137BPM – 2:47
All dancers want a lavender coffin. This song’s probably my number 1 go-to when I’m trying to pack the floor again. The folk that had sat down by the end of the last number were back up dancing.
Operator, Operator – Sister Wynona Carr – Dragnet for Jesus – 119BPM – 2:49
Probably a little too slow and it sounded fairly muddy on the speakers – I should have played some Lucky Millinder or Louis Jordan.
Alright, Okay, You Win with Everyday I Have the Blues – Barbara Morrison – Live at the 9:20 Special – 130BPM – 5:27
Billie Jean – Pink Turtle – Back Again – 137BPM – 4:58
Playing these two tracks was a mistake – both 5 minutes long and high energy and by this time of night a lot of the dancers’ stamina was starting to flag. Billie Jean certainly got a few strange looks from the crowd when the lyrics started up and they realised what it was, but it’s too long and has some lengthy harmonica solos. It’s also another new acquisition and now that it’s out of my system I think I can put it on the ‘low-rotation’ list.
Let the Good Times Roll – George Gee and His Make Believe Ballroom Orchestra – Swingin Live – 150BPM – 2:32
Your Feet’s Too Big – Pugsley Buzzard – Chicago Typewriter – 124BPM – 3:24
Coming up to the end of the night I wanted to focus my attention on shorter tracks so that folk could get more dances in (particularly after the 2x5min tracks). I started dropping the energy down a bit as well before coming back up to the last song.
Ain’t Nothing Too It – Fats Waller and His Orchestra – 127BPM – 3:14
Let’s Do It – Benny Goodman – Essential Benny Goodman – 137BPM – 2:03
For Dancers Only – Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra – Life is Fine – 149BPM – 2:43
Bli Blip – Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra – Live in Swing City – 137BPM – 3:16
I finished off with For Dancers Only and Bli Blip – crowd faves and nice high energy songs.
I’m playing the same set and venue in 2 weeks time so I’ve got some work to do to consolidate and improve.