Welcome to the new series of the music column where I am joined as always by Jazz singer and composer William Price King. We hope you will join us every Tuesday for some of the chart hits of the big band era from the 1930s through to the 1950s.
Some of the earlier videos are not of the best quality however where possible we have sourced remastered copies to share with you. Considering some are almost 100 years old, it is remarkable that they exist at all. A testament to the love of the music of that era. Along with our selections each week we will also be showcasing one of the dance crazes from the 1920s onwards and as with the music videos some are not of the highest quality and in some cases I have substituted more modern versions.
Here is my next selection from the Big Band chart in the 1930s from Ethel Waters and the Dorsey Brothers’ Orchestra
Ethel Waters “Stormy Weather (Keeps Rainin’ All the Time)” (1933)
“Stormy Weather ((Keeps Rainin’ All the Time)” was a torch song* written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler. Ethel Waters first sang it at The Cotton Club in Harlem in a revue, then she recorded it with the Dorsey Brothers’ Orchestra in 1933 and it peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Pop chart. Ethel Waters’ recording of the song was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003, and the Library of Congress added it to the National Recording Registry in 2004.
* Torch Song – A sentimental love song, in which the singer laments an unrequited or lost love. The term comes from the saying, “to carry a torch for someone.” OnlyJazzHQ
Here is my next selection from this exciting era of music from Duke Ellington
“Sophisticated Lady” is a jazz standard, composed as an instrumental in 1932 by Duke Ellington. Additional credit is given to publisher Irving Mills whose words were added to the song by Mitchell Parish. The words met with approval from Ellington, who described them as “wonderful—but not entirely fitted to my original conception”. That original conception was inspired by three of Ellington’s grade school teachers. “They taught all winter and toured Europe in the summer. To me that spelled sophistication.”
Duke Ellington and His Orchestra introduced “Sophisticated Lady” in 1933 with an instrumental recording of the song that featured solos by Toby Hardwick on alto sax, Barney Bigard on clarinet, Lawrence Brown on trombone and Ellington on piano. The recording entered the charts on 27 May 1933 and rose to number three.Classic Mood Experience
Other sources: Wikipedia
The early videos that I have managed to find are not always the best quality but hopefully they convey the wonderful joy that dancing brought to the times. Sally.
Jitterbug is a generalized term used to describe swing dancing. It is often synonymous with the lindy hop dance but might include elements of the jive, east coast swing, collegiate shag, charleston, balboa and other swing dances.
Swing dancing originated in the African-American communities of New York City in the early 20th century.Many nightclubs had a whites-only or blacks-only policy due to racial segregation, however the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem had a no-discrimination policy which allowed whites and blacks to dance together and it was there that the lindy hop dance flourished started by dancers such as George Snowden and Frank Manning.
The term jitterbug was originally a ridicule used by black patrons to describe whites who started to dance the lindy hop, as they were dancing faster and jumpier than was intended, like “jittering bugs”, although it quickly lost its negative connotation as the more erratic version caught on. Both the lindy hop and the “jitterbug” became popular outside Harlem when the dance was featured in Hollywood films and Broadway theatre, starring the performance group Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers. Rusty Frank
Your Hosts for The Big Band Era
William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.
His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.
While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.
Sally Cronin is an author, blogger and broadcaster who enjoyed four years as part of the team on Onda Cero International’s English speaking morning show in Marbella and then for two years as a presenter on Expressfm the local radio station in Portsmouth. She co-presented two ‘Drive Time’ shows a week with Adrian Knight, hosted the live Thursday Afternoon Show and The Sunday Morning Show guests including musicians and authors. Following this she became Station Director for a local internet television station for two years, producing and presenting the daily news segment, outside broadcasts and co-presenting the Adrian and Sally chat show live on Friday evenings.
She and her husband David have now returned to Ireland where they live on the Wexford Coast where she blogs and continues to write books.
Thanks for tuning in and as always we love to hear from you.. thanks William and Sally.