How to Fall in Love with Swing Jazz
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Muriel here —
When I started swing dancing some years ago, the first thing that got me hooked was the music: the infectious rhythm, sultry groove and dreamy melodies. And yet, after a year of dancing, I’d heard the same songs enough times that I was itching to find new tunes to dance to. I had no idea of the expansive world of swinging jazz that was out there, waiting to be discovered. It was at my first international swing dance event that I realised how absolutely huge that world is: this music was THE popular music in the Western world for at least three full decades, with a rich and fascinating ancestral tree of influences, and many thousands of recordings – we’d been scratching the surface…
It goes without saying that as I got more involved in the scene (planning events, teaching etc.), I also started collecting music and then DJing for local social dances. What a hobby! I started with seed collections from new DJ friends, and went down rabbit holes in online archives and forums, Spotify, iTunes, BandCamp… What a world! Learning about what makes a song straight or swinging, how I loved the muted trumpet and the vibrating clarinet, the walking bass and shuffling drums, the delicate melody of the piano, early vs late swing era vocals – all played by heroes whose names become etched in my mind, as I learn to recognise their signature sounds. And falling in love, over and over again, with moving to those sounds! From the early-century hot jazz, to the big band era of the 1930s and ’40s, to the smaller bands with crisp amplified sounds and more dominant vocals, into the mid-century rhythm & blues… The beauty of it all!
I would absolutely love to share the joy of this music with you, and get you started on your own discovery journey.
For those who are curious about DJing (or who have already been DJing): I invite you to select a few songs to play at the session, in sequence. We’ll chat about your selection, and what might work well next for a good flow on the dance floor. After all, we’re playing for dancers and our goal is to keep the dance floor full!
For those who just want to dance: I invite you to join the conversation, share what you like about the song selections, and practice your dancing while the DJs are playing their tunes!
I’ll have a seed collection of copyright-free music, spanning a variety of genres and artists, to share with all who attend.