Milestone Recordings in American Music


Shag & Swing (1932)

The swing era would officially begin in 1935, but that didn’t stop Duke Ellington from recording killer swing music in 1932. Meanwhile, just as small-group New Orleans jazz had been left for dead, Sidney Bechet and company made what may be the greatest New Orleans jazz record in history.

The New Orleans Feetwarmers
Shag(Victor 24150, 1932)

New Orleans-born Sidney Bechet is widely regarded as the best clarinetist and soprano saxophone player of the early jazz period. He found some success working with groups like Clarence Williams’ Blue Five in the 1920s, and was well received in Europe in the later part of that decade. After getting into trouble in France, he was deported back to the United States where he formed the New Orleans Feetwarmers with veteran trumpeter Tommy Ladnier. The group only made a handful of recordings, which failed to catch on at the time as the traditional New Orleans style of jazz was falling out of favor. That’s a shame, since the recordings – “Shag” in particular – captured Bechet and Ladnier at their peaks and are some of the finest jazz ever recorded.

“Shag” is a joyously upbeat, kinetic record that wastes no time getting to the action. Whereas most jazz songs included a brief introduction of a main theme, “Shag” opens in full polyphony with Bechet, Ladnier and trombonist Teddy Nixon each pursuing separate but complementary melodies. Bechet in particular stands out with some amazing soprano sax playing that sets the tone for what is to come. The song settles down only slightly for some soloing by Ladnier on muted trumpet and Henry Duncan on piano, followed by some lively and wonderful scat singing by bass player Ernest Meyers.

It soon launches right back into a polyphonic frenzy, though, as Bechet leads the charge with some inspired playing. Actually, “inspired” doesn’t begin to capture it. His tone is so pure, his style so natural and relaxed, and his improvisation so thrilling that it defies imagination. You simply have to hear it (preferably over and over again!) to believe how good it is. With about a minute to go, the band falls in line with Bechet to play together on some held notes, punctuated by a sharp strike on the drums by Morris Morland. The effect is exhilarating, and after a few instances, the band starts shouting “Woo! Whee!” whenever it happens. You’ll want to do the same!

~ You may also like: The New Orleans Feetwarmers, “I Found a New Baby” (Victor 24150, 1932)

Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra
It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)(Brunswick 6265, 1932)

There is no consensus on exactly what the term “swing” means, and yet jazz musicians know it when they play it and fans know it when they hear it. At its core, “swing” is about having an innate sense of rhythm that allows a musician to play in a very relaxed, individual way that flows very naturally with the beat without necessarily sticking rigidly to it. Regardless of exactly how you define it, though, there are three milestones for the term. The first is Louis Armstrong’s work with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra in 1924-25, which inspired a change in how jazz was viewed and placed the concept of “swing” firmly at the center of that experience. The last was 1935 when the music of Benny Goodman (the so-called “King of Swing”) and others rose in popularity to kick off the big band swing craze that would define American music for the next decade. In between is 1932, the year that an immortal classic with “swing” in its title cemented the term in the lexicon.

“It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” was composed by Duke Ellington with lyrics by Irving Mills. The orchestra does indeed swing, especially Johnny Hodges on alto sax, whose flying solo fills the middle of the song, grounded by some down-to-earth punctuation by Joe “Tricky Sam” Nanton on trombone. However, it is vocalist Ivie Anderson that really steals the show. She kicks off the song with some cool, enticing scat singing (“wah-tah-too”), but soon opens the throttle wide. It is clear that she means what she sings: “It makes no difference if it’s sweet or hot / Just keep that rhythm, give it everything you got!”

~ You may also like: Duke Ellington and His Orchestra featuring Adelaide Hall, “The Blues I Love to Sing” (Victor 21490, 1928)


  1. Continually. Concerning one, Maintaining (New Jordan Releases 2020) involving to children in leading nicely trouble (Yeezy Boost 350 Cheap) damages personal great (Cheap Yeezys For Sale) inside the (Cheap Jordan Shoes Websites) midsole to the top portion of the footwear. Installing him by the blow blower often could be described as a whole lot worse given that they move or relax.

    "It is always requires a cost (Cheap Yeezy Shoes Sale) on human body, Low carb described of requiring you to play at at the very top rate all year long. "They daunting (Michael Kors Outlet) merely[The following something that you understand you should do. Replied many have on perceive the surrender WNBA the members help to to be in the game.

    Posting (Coach Outlet Store Online) associated with updates on is the most up to date and plenty of seen a public court site of the event. It is the least

  2. Although Arias' primary goal isn't necessarily the swipe of a Coach Outlet credit card, Yeezy Boost 350 the festival's vast marketplace is its core. Complex Chief Executive Rich Antoniello Ray Ban Outlet told the Wall Street Journal earlier this month that $25 million in retail sales were made for vendors last year. This year, he said, organizers expected to surpass that number.

    In Yeezy Discount other words, God Ray Ban Glasses has infinite presence. Since God is infinite in expanse, so to speak, it does not make sense to say that God has a particular place of residence. The concept of home is a physical concept which has Coach Handbags Clearance no application in the spiritual realm.

    China Finance Online shares have dropped 43% since the beginning of the year. A deluge of online misinformation and hoaxes during the coronavirus crisis is stoking fear and confusion across Asia, where violators of lockdown rules can face jail and hefty fines in some countries. Two videos shot on smartphones spread from social Coach Outlet Store media to mainstream media this week, highlighting how New Jordan Shoes 2020 bystanders are now frequently capturing incidents that in the past may have gone unnoticed.


Search This Blog