Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Music Column – The Big Band Era with William Price King and Sally Cronin – 1940s – Artie Shaw, Coleman Hawkins, The Jive

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 1940s from Artie Shaw

Artie Shaw “Frenesi” (1940)  

“Frenesi” was composed for the marimba (a percussion instrument) by Alberto Dominguez Borrás, a renowned Mexican musician and composer, but was later adapted for jazz by Leonard Whitcup. Artie Shaw recorded his version of “Frenesi” in March1940, and by the end of the year it had reached the #1 spot on the Billboard Pop chart where it remained for 13 weeks. In 1982, Shaw’s version of “Frenesi” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.  Craig Smith

Here is my next selection from the 1940s from Coleman Hawkins

Coleman Hawkins “Body and Soul” (1940)

“Body and Soul” is a popular song and jazz standard written in 1930 with music by Johnny Green and lyrics by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour and Frank Eyton. It was also used as the musical theme and underscoring in the American film noir boxing drama Body and Soul.

One of the most famous and influential takes was recorded by Coleman Hawkins and His Orchestra on October 11, 1939, at their only recording session for Bluebird, a subsidiary of RCA Victor. The recording is unusual in that the song’s melody is only hinted at in the recording; Hawkins’ two-choruses of improvisation over the tune’s chord progression constitute almost the entire take. Because of this, as well as the imaginative use of harmony and break from traditional swing cliches, the recording is recognised as part of the “early tremors of bebop”. In 2004, the Library of Congress entered it into the National Recording Registry.  Classic Mood Experience

Other sources: Wikipedia – And: Jazz Standards

The jive is a dance style that originated in the United States from African Americans in the early 1930s. The name of the dance comes from the name of a form of African-American vernacular slang, popularized in the 1930s by the publication of a dictionary by Cab Calloway, the famous jazz bandleader and singer. In competition ballroom dancing, the jive is often grouped with the Latin-inspired ballroom dances, though its roots are based on swing dancing and not Latin dancing.

To the players of swing music in the 1930s and 1940s, “jive” was an expression denoting glib or foolish talk.

American soldiers brought Lindy Hop/jitterbug to Europe around 1940, where this dance swiftly found a following among the young. In the United States, “swing” became the most common word for the dance, and the term “jive” was adopted in the UK. Variations in technique led to styles such as boogie-woogie and swing boogie, with “jive” gradually emerging as the generic term in the UK.

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.



47 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Music Column – The Big Band Era with William Price King and Sally Cronin – 1940s – Artie Shaw, Coleman Hawkins, The Jive

  1. The Playbus once had a set of ‘Multicultural Instruments which were unusual and ethnically sourced. One of the instruments was a ‘Marimba’, although I very much doubt it could ever produce a piece of music as good as Artie Shaw’s “Frenesi”.
    In fact I still have the Marimba which was made in Africa and is certainly untuned and raw – the children loved playing it (I hope one day my little visitor might too). It is very basic with gourds and wood.

    Our school taught dancing. Years 1&2 learnt ‘Old Time’.
    Years 3& 4 learnt ‘Latin American’.Loved the Jive but it didn’t look quite like that. LOL

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much, Sue. It must have been quite joyful at your house with the children playing the Marimba. I do hope your little visitor will do the same. Wishing you a happy Zumba class. Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

      • I was lucky to have kept the musical instruments (sounds) on the Playbus or in the school.
        But yes, I’m sure Alexander and I will enjoy the sounds too.
        Sounds being the word rather than tunes as we enjoy sounds. Such as the ‘thunder tube’ or the ocean drum with ball bearings inside 😂
        Yes Zumba was good today, thank you.


  2. As with a lot of the music showcased here, the name (Frenesi) meant nothing to me but the music was instantly familiar. I found that jive mesmerising! Many thanks. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Always fun learning about some of the hits from the long ago past. I’m not familiar with either of the songs, but the jive/swing, oh yes, really not my favorite to dance, but my husband did his best to coax me. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – May 15th – 21st 2023 – Twitter, Starlings, The Jive, Diana Krall, Soul Mates, Zabaglione, Personal Power,Book Reviews, Health and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  5. Another great selection, Sally and William. I did go to a jive ball once, although, unfortunately, I missed the class (which took place earlier on), so although I enjoyed watching other people dance, I didn’t manage to try it myself. It is pretty spectacular!

    Liked by 1 person

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