Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Music Column – The Big Band Era with William Price King and Sally Cronin – 1930s – Count Basie, Bunny Berigan, The Boogie Woogie

Welcome to the 2023 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 Count Basie

Count Basie “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” (1938)

“Jumpin’ at the Woodside,” penned by Count Basie and Eddie Durham, was recorded in 1938 featuring solos by Earle Warren (alto sax), Buck Clayton (trumpet), Lester Young (tenor), and Herschel Evans (clarinet). It is considered one of the band’s signature tunes. It reached #11 on the Billboard charts and remained there for four weeks. The location in the title refers to the Woodside Hotel, which was located on Seventh Avenue at 142nd Street in Harlem and has since been demolished. The Woodside distinguished itself by becoming a popular place for jazz musicians. The band stayed at the Woodside repeatedly and even rehearsed in the basement of the hotel.

Here is my next selection from this era of popular music from Bunny Berigan

 Bunny Berigan “I Can’t Get Started” (1938)

“I Can’t Get Started”, also known as “I Can’t Get Started with You” or “I Can’t Get Started (with You)”, is a popular song. It was written in 1936 by Vernon Duke (music) and Ira Gershwin (lyrics) and introduced that year in the film Ziegfeld Follies of 1936, where it was performed by Bob Hope and Eve Arden.

Hal Kemp and his Orchestra recorded it and it had a bit of popularity, rising briefly to 14th place on the recording charts. Bunny Berigan, a trumpeter with Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey, started a band in 1937 and chose “I Can’t Get Started” as his theme song.

He had been performing the song during the previous year at a club in New York City. He made a recording for Vocalion on April 13, 1936 but gradually he made subtle changes in the arrangement. After forming his band, he recorded “I Can’t Get Started” again, this time for Victor. His 1937 version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Bunny Berigan – Topic

Other sources: Wikipedia

The Boogie Woogie -The term boogie woogie is confusing; the dance can be danced to the music style called boogie-woogie but is most often danced to rock music of various kinds. The name was taken since the name rock’n’roll used in competition dance was already taken by a highly acrobatic dance form.

Boogie woogie as a competition dance is a led dance, not choreographed, and can contain acrobatic elements, but not like in acrobatic rock’n’roll. The limitation of aerials are various in European countries, but by the strong Lindy Hop influence, they cannot be completely removed from the dance. Mainly the couples have to maintain some contact during the acrobatics. This rule helps to avoid moves like double/triple saltos and the like.  Here is a modern demonstration from a very accomplished couple. RockThatSwing

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.

Blog– IMPROVISATION William Price King on Tumblr – Buy William’s music: William Price King iTunes – FacebookWilliam Price King – Twitter@wpkofficial
Regular Venue – Cave Wilson

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.

Books :Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – More reviews: Goodreads – blog: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin

Thanks for tuning in and as always we love to hear from you.. thanks William and Sally.



49 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Music Column – The Big Band Era with William Price King and Sally Cronin – 1930s – Count Basie, Bunny Berigan, The Boogie Woogie

    • Boogie Woogie music is indeed characterized by a regular left-hand bass figure, Liz, as you mentioned. As boogie-woogie music is mainly dance music, it was not used for competitive dance, as seen in our video. Rock’n’roll music or other dance genres were used instead, for convenience. Thanks. Hugs

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  1. Well that was fun!
    I was Jumpin along with Count Basie; Smoochin along with Bunny (or should that be bouncing along); Boogie Woogie’ing along with Bianca and Nils.
    Yep I’m awake and ready to hop along to Zumba. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I recognized Jumpin’ at the Woodside, but never knew the name of that music! And those dancers – what energy! I could use a little of that! Thanks to the two of you mavens of music.

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  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 20th – 26th March 2023 – De-Cluttering, New Releases Promotion, Big Band Era, Stevie Wonder, Podcast, Health, Reviews, Bloggers and Funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  4. I love the big band era you picked some great examples, Will… my favourite today was Bunny Berigan I loved this… more instrumental than singing…perfect for me today …Thank you xx

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