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DJing set, Wednesday Night Hop, Mountain View CA Sept 6/2012

Song Number/Song /Artist/Album
1/The Flat Feet Floogee/Slim Gaillard/An Introduction to Slim Gaillard: His Best Recordings
2/Joshua Fight The Battle Of Jericho/Gérard Messonnier And The Hot Kings/The Best Of New-Orleans Vol. 1
3/Are You Hep To The Jive? (Yas, Yas) – Cab Calloway & His Orc/Cab Calloway & His Orchestra/Are You Hep To The Jive?
4/Who Ya Hunchin’ (1938)/Chick Webb & His Orchestra/CLASSICS 24 Complementary Tracks (1)
5/You Must Be Losing Your Mind – Fats Waller, His Rhythm And H/Fats Waller, His Rhythm And His Orchestra/If You Got To Ask, You Ain’t Got It!
6/Just Kiddin’ Around (Conniff)/Artie Shaw (clarinette) et son orchestre/Artie Shaw et son orchestre: 1941-1942
7/Solid As A Rock (Hilliard-Mann)/Count Basie (piano) et son orchestre/Count Basie Et Son Orchestre 1950-1951
8/Rockin’ In Rhythm – Harlem Footwarmers/Harlem Footwarmers/Ken Burns Jazz (3 Pak Cube) – Louis Armstrong/ Duke Ellington
9/Jive At Five/Count Basie & His Orchestra/Swingsation: Count Basie
10/Back Bay Shuffle – Artie Shaw & His Orchestra/Artie Shaw & His Orchestra/Artie Shaw, King Of The Clarinet
11/Love Me Or Leave Me/Don Ewell/Music To Listen To Don Ewell By
12/Half Tight Boogie/Jonathan Stout & Campus Five/Jammin’ the Blues
13/Yacht Club Swing/Echoes of Swing/Harlem Joys
14/Sympathique/Pink Martini/Sympathique
15/La Mer/Pearl Django/Swing 48
16/Swing 39/Django Reinhardt/Swing 39
17/Rose Room/Benny Goodman Sextet/Ken Burns Jazz
18/I’m Livin’ in a Great Big Way/Benny Goodman And His Orchestra;Buddy Clark/The Birth Of Swing
19/Fat And Greasy (Grainger-Johnson)/Fats Waller/Fats Waller: 1935-1936
20/I’m Confessin’ That I Love You/Gordon Webster/Happy When I’m With You
21/My Blue Heaven/The Cangelosi Cards/Clinton Street Recordings, I
22/Them There Eyes/Ella and Basie/On the Sunny Side of the Street
23/Black Coffee/The Careless Lovers/Black Coffee – Single
24/Rockin’ Robin/Bobby Day/Jiving Jamboree vol 1
25/On Revival Day/LaVern Baker/Sings Bessie Smith
26/All She Wants to Do Is Rock/Wynonie Harris/Mister Blues Is King
27/Big Fat Mama/Four Vagabonds/Four Vagabonds Vol. 1 (1941-1951)
28/Good Rockin’ Tonight/Jimmy Witherspoon/Jazz Me Blues: The Best Of Jimmy Witherspoon
29/Blue Drag/Freddy Taylor and His Swing Men from Harlem/Viper Mad Blues
30/Dark Eyes/Fats Waller/Happy Birthday Fats Vol. 1
31/Twenty Four Robbers/Gordon Webster/Happy When I’m With You
32/Ballin’ the Jack/Swing Parade South/Hommage à Sidney Bechet
33/Wake Up Neesie/Kermit Ruffins/Big Easy
34/Four Or Five Times/Kid Ory’s Creole Jazz Band/This Kid’s The Greatest!
35/Trouble in Mind/Kim Nalley/She Put A Spell On Me
36/Shout ‘em Aunt Tillie – Duke Ellington/Duke Ellington/Duke Ellington – Blue Feeling
37/Tain’t what you do/Jimmie Lunceford/The Best Of Vintage Swing
38/Sweet Lorraine/Gordon Webster/Happy When I’m With You
39/It’s De-Lovely/The Boilermaker Jazz Band/Give Me Your Telephone Number
40/After You’ve Gone/Louis Armstrong/Hot Fives And Sevens
41/Hold Tight/Fats Waller/Fats Waller – Thru the 30′s Volume 2
42/1234/Feist/The Reminder
43/Fibre de verre/Paris Combo/Attraction
44/A Viper’s Moan/Willie Bryant (chant) Et Son Orchestre/Willie Bryant Et Son Orchestre: 1935-1936
45/Betcha Nickel – Ella Fitzgerald and her Famous Orchestra/Ella Fitzgerald and her Famous Orchestra/Queen Of The Savoy: Early Years, Vol. 2 1937-39
46/Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home?/Jimmie Lunceford/Greatest Hits
47/New Orleans Bump/Wynton Marsalis/Mr. Jelly Lord – Standard Time Vol. 6

Choreography transcription: Al Minns Shim Sham

Movements:

1/2 break -

1-2: Step forward on right, step on left
3-4: Kick ball change on right

(Incomplete) You Tube video

A video of it being performed as a performance

A) Boogies

1. 8-3: Boogie forward
4-7: Shuffle back
2. 8-3: Boogie forward
4-7: Shuffle back
3. 8-3: Boogie forward
4-7: Shuffle back
4. 8-7: Full break

B) Suzy Q pushes

1. 8-7: Suzy Q (push and push and cross over)
2. 8-7: Suzy Q (push and push and cross over)
3. 8-7: Suzy Q (push and push and cross over)
4. 8-3: Suzy Q (cross over)
4-7: Suzy Q (cross over)

c) Tacky Annie with Triples

1. 8-1: Kick ball change
2-3: Triple step
4-5: Triple step
6-7: Triple step
2. 8-1: Kick ball change
2-3: Triple step
4-5: Triple step
6-7: Triple step
3. 8-1: Kick ball change
2-3: Triple step
4-5: Triple step
6-7: Triple step
4. Full break

D) 1/2 Breaks + Run-runs

1. 8-3: 1/2 break
4-7: Run-run run-run (Right/Left)
2. 8-3: 1/2 break
4-7: Run-run run-run (Right/Left)
3. 8-3: 1/2 break
4-7: Run-run run-run (Right/Left)
4. Full break

E) 1/2 Breaks and Eagle Slides

1. 8-7: Two 1/2 breaks (“on” right)
2. 8-1: Eagle slide on right
3: (Turn around) Step left
5: Step Right
7: Step left
3. 8-7: Two 1/2 breaks (“on” right)
4. 8-1: Eagle slide on right
3: (Turn around) Step left
5: Step Right
7: Step left

F) Snake Hips

1. 8-1: Snake Hip right
2-3: Snake Hip left
4-5: Snake Hip right
6-7: Snake Hip right
2. 8-1: Snake Hip left
2-3: Snake Hip right
4-5: Snake Hip left
6-7: Snake Hip left
3. 8-1: Snake Hip right
2-3: Snake Hip left
4-5: Snake Hip right
6-7: Snake Hip right (with clap on 7)
4. 8-7: Hold (transfer weight to left)

G) Fall off the log and Heel-Toes

1. 8-7: Fall off the log (start right), turn around
2. 8-1: Heel-toe
2-3: Heel-toe
4-5: Heel-toe
6-7: Heel-toe, end with weight on left
3. 8-7: Fall off the log (start right), turn around
4. 8-1: Heel-toe
2-3: Heel-toe
4-5: Heel-toe
6-7: Heel-toe, end with weight on left

H) Crazy Eagle Slides and Suzy Qs

1. 8-1: Stomp both feet
2-3: Step right forward, step left
4-5: Eagle slide forward

I) Jump Charleston

1. 8-7: Jump Charleston (first kick forward is on 1)
2. 8-7: Jump Charleston (first kick forward is on 1)
3. 8-7: Jump Charleston (first kick forward is on 1)
4. 8-7: Full break, on 7 heel-toe out

J) Linked Up Exit
(Link arms together, exit)
1. 8-1: Small kick out on right
2-3: Small kick out on left
4-5: Toes in
6-7: Toes out
2. 8-1: Small kick out on right
2-3: Small kick out on left
4-5: Toes in
6-7: Toes out
3. 8-1: Small kick out on right
2-3: Small kick out on left
4-5: Toes in
6-7: Toes out
4. 8-1: Small kick out on right
2-3: Small kick out on left
4-5: Toes in
6-7: Toes out

Choreography transcription: Tranky Doo

Choreography to the Tranky Doo (Original choreography: Pepsi Bethel)

I am trying to write this down as we follow the class being led by Jason Platt of the Hartford Underground

Notes:
A. Starts on 8, with right foot

B. Each point below is an eight count

Video on You Tube

First Phrase:

1.    8-3:     Fall off the log (right to left)
4-7:     Fall off the log (left to right), step on left foot on 7
2.     8-1:     Shuffle forward
by 3:     Lunge on left with leg
by 5:   Lunge on right with leg
by 7:     Lunge on left with leg, with right foot free by 7
3.     8-3:     Fall off the log (right to left, 8-3)
4-7:     Fall off the log (left to right, 4-7), step on left foot on 7
4.     8-1:     Shuffle forward 8-1
by 3:     Lunge on left with leg
by 5:     Lunge on right with leg
by 7:     Lunge on left with leg, with right foot heel up on 7
5.     8-3:     Shoe shine on left foot
4-7:      Shoe shine on right foot
6.     8-1:      Boogie forward with right leg, use arms
2-3:     Boogie forward with left leg, use arms
4-5:     Boogie forward with right leg, use arms
6-7:     Boogie forward with left leg, use arms
7.     8-3:    Shoe shine on left foot
4-7:      Shoe shine on right foot
8.     8-1:     Boogie forward with right leg, use arms
2-3:     Boogie forward with left leg, use arms
4-5:     Boogie forward with right leg, use arms
6-7:     Boogie forward with left leg, use arms
9.     8-1:     Apple Jacks starting on right
10.   8-1:     Apple Jacks starting on right
11.    8-1:     Rock babies, with right foot back (front-back)
12.    8-1:    Rock babies, moving forward
13.    8-1:    Boogie back, starting on right
14.    8-1:    Shorty George forward, with kick ball change on right
15.    8-1:    Shorty George forward, with kick ball change on right
16.    Break:
8:     step right,
1:     tap left foot behind right
2:     step left
3:     step right behind left
4-5:    bring right foot, wrap in front of left
6-7:    twist around to come around back to front

Second phrase:
1. 8-1: Knee slap on right, foot down on 1
2-3: Shuffle to right
4-5: Knee slap on left, foot down on 5
6-7: Shuffle to left

2. 8-1: Knee slap on right, foot down on 1
2-3: Shuffle to right
4-7: Bend down, low walk half time to right (left foot down on 5, right foot down on 7)

3. 8: Up (contrast), clap hands above head, left foot by side of right knee
1: Hold
2: Right foot down
3-7: Suzy Q towards the left

4. 8-1: Kick forward-back Charleston style with right leg
2: Tap left foot by the side of your right foot
3-7: (Arms stretched out, bring them in for angular momentum help. Also use bent right knee to help turning) Hop/turn to your ledft side, on right foot, face front again

5. 8-3: Fall off the log, front to back, starting with right foot, do a 180 degree turn on your left side
4: Use 4 to get feet together
5: Slide feet out
7: Slide feet back in

6. 8-1: Kick ball change on right foot, step down on left at end
2: Step on right foot
3-4: Eagle slide on right foot forward, left foot down on 4
5-6: Kick ball change on right, such that left leg crosses in front of right
7: Kick with right foot to bring it around the left

7. 8: Use the twist to turn around on the left, face forward again (again, use outstretched arms, bring them in to get help from good ol’ angular momentum!)
1-3: Step right foot out, thrice, once on each beat. Take top part of body with it, use arms
4: Bring left foot to right, face left
5-7: Step left foot out thrice, once on each beat. Take top part of body with it, use arms

8. (Cross Steps):
8-3: Step back with right foot (on right side), get left foot together, cross in front with right foot
4-7: Step back with left foot (on left side), get right foot together, cross in front with right foot

9. 8-3: Step back with right foot (on right side), get left foot together, cross in front with right foot
4-7: Step back with left foot (on left side), get right foot together, cross in front with right foot

10. 8-7: (Paddles) Paddle with right foot, weight on left foot (go right to left anticlockwise)

11. 8-3: Fall off the log, starting with right foot (front to back, face front again by 3)
4-7: Hop on right foot, going backwards
12. 8-1: Staying on right foot, start trucking forward
2-7: Truck forward (left, right, left)

13. 8-7: Truck forward (right, left, right, left)

14. 8-1: Step down in front on left.
2-7: Hop on left foot, going backwards

15. 8-1: Step down on right
2-7: Kick steps, alternating leg, moving forward

(8 8 counts of basically do what you want!)
For class,
8-7: Pimp walks
8-7: Pimp walks (come back facing front by 7)

8-7: Jazz squares
8-7: Jazz squares

8-7: Jazz squares
8-7: Jazz squares

8-7: Jazz squares
8-7: Jazz squares

Choreography by Hartford Underground to Yacht Club Swing (Fats Waller)

Notes:

1. Dancing to the song starts with piano rolls (After “Hello Mama,…”)
2. Movements start on 1
3. Each point described below is an eight count

Movements:

“Foot rubs”: (2 counts per foot rub)

Weight on one side of the body, use the core to move the other side’s hip and thus, other side’s foot forward/back in 2 counts, while moving to the side where we have the weight. Embellish by using hand movement on the side we are moving towards (Brush off clothes, trucking motions etc)

“Swing out with eagle slide” (8*1 = 8 counts)

1-4 similar to swing out, except more pressure on leader’s left/follower’s right. Open up on the leader’s right and on 5-6, kick ball change out to the leader’s right side. As the foot comes down, eagle slide out on 7, land right foot down on 8.

“Yes” (8*1 = 8 counts)

(In choreography, follows the swing out with eagle slide)
Follow and leader’s face each other, weight on leader’s left, follow’s right. Leader’s right foot is out, slide it in, sliding the left one out, while the right arm stretches out forward. A 2 count move.

“Tabby Cat” (8*2 = 16 counts)

Leaders walk (or small kicks) forward, starting with left. (Each foot forward is a 2 count). By end of first 8, twist 90 degrees forward on the right (facing your left side) tap left foot behind right foot. Using the left foot pivot around, bring right foot around again (by 4) and bring hip in a “tabby cat” swivel up by 8.

Video on You Tube

First Phrase: Solo Movement

(Foot rubs)
1.     8 counts of foot rubs to the left
2.     8 counts foot rubs to the right
3.     4 counts foot rubs to the left, 4 to the right
4.     2 counts of foot rubs on right, 2 counts on the left, twice.
(repeat)
5.     8 counts of foot rubs to the left
6.     8 counts foot rubs to the right
7.     4 counts foot rubs to the left, 4 to the right
8.     2 counts of foot rubs on right, 2 counts on the left, twice.
(Solo jazz: Kick ball change, boogie back, Apple jacks, Fall off the log)
9. 1-2: Fall on left left foot
3-4: Kick ball change on left
5-6: Fall on left left foot
7-8: Kick ball change on left
10.1-2: Fall on left left foot
3-4: Kick ball change on left
5-6: Fall on left left foot
7-8: Hold
11. Boogie back on left, ends with Apple jacks on left
12. Apple jacks, ends with Shoe Shine
13. 1-4: Shoe Shine on left (extend back arm in line)
5-8: Shoe shine on right (extend back arm in line)
14. 1-4: Fall off the log (right to left)
5-8: Fall off the log (left to right)
15. 1-4: Fall off the log (right to left)
5-8: Fall off the log (left to right),
16. 1-4: Ending in Tranky Doo style circular shuffle forwards)
5-8: Ends with left leg out, use to that sweep left to right in a circle (Girls move more forward than the boys)

Second phrase: (Solo Jazz, 20s Charleston, call/response, Suzy Qs)

17. 1-8: (Girls only, Guys do minimal movement at the back) 20s Charleston left to right, jazz hands
18. 1-8: (Girls only, Guys do minimal movement at the back) 20s Charleston right to left, jazz hands
19. 1-8: (Girls only, Guys do minimal movement at the back) 20s Charleston mostly in place, jazz hands
20. 1-8: Girls: push around 1 turns, until guys come up and catch up in front
21. 1-4: Guys reach girls, girls do half push turn
5-8: Guys basket turn her back, Guys eagle slide forward, Girls go back
22. 1-8: Both Guys and Girls do Suzy Q’s right to left
23. 1-4: Guys: Rock step into savoy kick-tap
5-8: Guys: Charleston kick into back slide  – Girls: small 20′s Charleston to the “dingle”
24. 1-8: Guys rock step back with their left, triple step in front, to the right, kick ball change on right
25. 1-4: Guys slide forward, cross legs in front
5-8: Girls prepare to come forward
26. 1-8: Girls come forward to the guys in a turn, guys turn around bopping
27. 1-4: Guys catch the girls, down up, ending in both being one leg forward the other
5-8: Hold
28. 1-4: Hold
5-6: Guys turn around starting under the left arm
7-8: Guys turn around the girls starting under their left arm
29. 1-8: Prepare for sailor kicks (Rock step, block turn connection into back to back
30. 1-7: Sailor kicks forward, stop on 7
8: Hold
31. 1-4: Reverse sailor kick
5-8: Continue reverse sailor kicks, turn her out
32. 1-8: Rock step her inside turn into side by side connection

Third phrase: (Partnered dancing)

33. 1-8: Swing out at 45 degrees (from closed)
34. 1-8: Swing out at 45 degrees
35. 1-8: Swing out at 45 degrees
36. 1-8: Swing out with eagle side
37. 1-8: 8 counts of yes’s
38. 1-8: Rock step back together, move forward together, go into hand to hand Charleston, leader does not move, fakes her into going into hand to hand.
39. 1-8: Continue hand to hand, last 2 counts, big kick out at end
40. 1-8: Big rock step back, hand to hand Charleston with Savoy kick break, big kick at end
41. 1-8: Rock step back, lead her in, catch her by hand, leader faces audience.
42. 1-4: Shimmy out
5-8: Shimmy back in
43. 1-2: Rock step
3-6: Turn out (one circle)
7-8: Step out
44. 1-4: Walk back in, turn the other way as before
5-6: Leap up as in the “gaze afar” of the Big Apple
7-8: Kick out with inner leg
45. 1-2: Eagle slide forward
3-8: Walk forward, last step forward is on 7, pivot back on 7, step 8
46. 1-8: Walk back to where we started, with a quick turn (to our outside), face audience by 7 (is a rock step on left for leaders, girls fake it)
47. 1-8: Guys – normal Charleston
Girls – (end on wrong foot, just wait for leaders to kick out), they kick out with them
48. 1-4: Charleston usual way
5: As we kick back, slide back with the force of that kick
7: Step down with right leg onto spot we just vacated because of having slid back (almost a fall)
8: Hold

Fourth phrase: (Call/response, partnered dancing)

49. 1-8: Girls shimmy/boogie to left (Guys point to girls, focus on them)
50. 1-8: Girls shimmy/boogie to right (Guys point to girls, focus on them)
51. 1-8: Guys do the tabby cat walk
52. 1-8: Guys finish the tabby cat hip swivel
53. 1-4: Guys twist/swivel to their left
5-8: Girls come forward in hops or twists
54. 1-4: Guys twist/swivel in place (or slightly forward)
5-8: Girls catch up using hops or twists
55. 1-4: Rock step, inside turn, change of place. The turn is constrained since the leader’s arm blocks the follow and           both leader and follow face the audience
5-8: Leader and follow do taps with the inside foot so now both are wound up
56. 1-4: Follow is wound up, leader simply turns her forward, lets go. She switches place
5-8: Partnered 20′s Charleston (Leader facing left side)
57. 1-8: Partnered 20′s Charleston (Leader facing left side), By 7, start reversing sides
58. 1-8: Partnered 20′s Charleston (Leader facing right side)
59. 1-8: Tuck turn her out
60. 1-4: Bring her in, double turn, side to side by end of 4
5-8: Both hop backwards on the inner leg
61. 1-2: Nice chunky rock step with outer leg that was still in the air
3-8: Finish off with swing out from side by side
62. 1-8: Swing out
63. 1-4: Like a swing out
5-8: Bring her in on the leader’s right side, circular rock step her back on 7-8
64. 1-4: Tuck turn her out
5-8: Bring her in (single turn), drags

Notes from Diana:

Notes:
2. Movement starts go back and forth between 8 & 1, but choreography starts on 8.
“Foot rubs”
I like to think of this movement as weight transfers btwn toe/heel on one foot while moving in the direction of the moving foot.  The other leg acts as a counter-balance, moving in the opposite direction of where weight is on foot. Easiest to start movement w/weight fwd on toe w/foot in pidgeon-toe position.
“S/O w/eagle slide”
1-4 same, except compress in on 4 (lead L, follow R). Using compression, kick away from partner on 5, ball-change to 6, land on 7, hold on 8.
“Yes”
Stationary scissors slides, split weight.
1st Phrase:
1. 8cts to R, starting on 8
2. 8cts to L
etc…
9. Half breaks starting on L foot on 1 (3x’s, 1.5*8cts), Stomp hold on L on 2nd 5ct;
half break = stomp wt fwd on L 1ct, stomp wt bkwd on R 1ct, kick ball change 2cts
(Half breaks because only takes 4 cts vs. Full breaks which take 8cts)
12.  Apple Jacks 1-4, scuff up w/L, land on R, L, R, stick L leg out for shoe shine (5 6-a 7 8)cts
13.  Shoe Shine on L foot (1, 2), hop L (3), stick R leg out for shoe shine (4), shoe shine on R (5, 6), stand up (7)
14. Fall off log starting on ct 8. 4x’s ending on 6ct.
15. Tranky Doo style, circular shuffle to left ending w/left leg out to side and weight on R, 7-8-1-2-3 ct. Hold 4.
16. Transfer wt to L and sweep R around spinning clockwise back to front. 5, 6, land on 7ct, hold 8ct.
17. Girl’s part starting on 1: 4 cts 20′s Charleston on R, 4cts Paddle turn clockwise, 4 cts 20′s Charleston on L, 4cts paddle turn counter clockwise, 8 cts 20′s Charleston on R, 8cts 2 full spot turns end facing forward.

The Blue Moon Ball – Part 2

On a personal level, I DJed the band breaks. I was happy – many folks came up to tell me they enjoyed the songs I played. This included several band members as well! It always gives me a high when musicians I admire so much tell me they enjoy the tunes I chose to play. The ‘set list’ is at the bottom of this post – since a whole bunch of folks asked.

While deliberating on which songs to play, I kept the following considerations in mind:

  • The Boilermakers have a tendency to really keep the energy of the floor high and I wanted to make sure I did not let this energy flag during the band breaks.
  • I knew there would be lots of people attending, so I knew I had to still mix it up, since different people like different types of music
  • I was DJing the band breaks – so obviously, I did not want to play music from other contemporary bands.
  • Moreover, I was DJing at a dance where the Boilermakers were playing. So, the challenge was: I had to play songs that kept a ‘similar’ vibe to that of the Boilermakers, but still make sure that the songs I played had a different enough sound from that of the band
  • From past experience, I knew the members of the Boilermakers definitely pay attention to the other music being played. I knew, for instance, Paul Cosentino, the band leader loves listening to different clarinetists during the break. So I decided to play one of my favorite tunes from the one and only Jimmie Noone. I also know the band has origins in good old traditional jazz, so I tried to find some Nawlins stuff they’d like (and much to my gratification, they did!)
  • Last but obviously not the least, in fact, the most important – I tried my very best to keep an eye on the floor and see what the dancers responding to, and how the songs I was playing affected them. This to me, of course, always has to take precedence over almost anything else

So keeping all that in mind, here are the songs I played:

  1. Begin The Beguine (Porter), Woody Herman and orchestra
  2. Cole Slaw, Jesse Stone & His Orchestra
  3. It’s Tight Like That, Jimmie Noone’s Apex Club Orchestra
  4. Sad Sap Sucker, Fats Waller
  5. Corrine Corrina, Red Nichols
  6. The Mooche, Joe Salzano & The Blue Devils
  7. New Orleans Bump (Monrovia), Jelly Roll Morton
  8. Short Dressed Gal, Preservation Hall Jazz Band

I do regret – however, not being able to fit in a Django Reinhardt tune that night – I just could not find a spot for it. It was the great guitarist’s 100th anniversary and I wanted to play something as a tribute to the man who has inspired generations of jazz guitarists and nearly spawned a genre of his own! I did request the band to see if they could play something by Django, but I guess they could not, either. I was surprised that they left out their own version of Minor Swing, a Django classic.

The Blue Moon Ball – part 1

It has been so very long since I blogged about anything regarding dancing. But we recently had a fantastic dance event happen in CT in which I was very actively involved, so this event seems as good an excuse as any to resume blogging.

Hartford Underground organized the Blue Moon Ball on Jan 23, 2010. The dance had so many things that could go well, and not only did most of them go well, it was the manner in which they went well that was so pleasing.

This dance was the first major one they put on, and they decided to bring in the Boilermaker Jazz Band for it. This turned out to be a great move. The band is a big name – many dancers, from several states turned up. The Boilermakers are one of my all time favorite jazz bands to dance to. They have such an authentic vintage sound, yet they do never sound dated. They always sound so professional and so tight. They absolutely killed it that night – I saw dancer after dancer go up to them and thank them and rave about what a good time they were having. I saw dancers both experienced and inexperienced enjoying themselves so much that they stayed till the very end, not wanting to miss a minute of the band. Not only did they stay, the dance floor was busy till the very end – all very good signs that the band and their music were a huge success. I do hope they come back sooner rather than later to a dance in CT.

The were four performances overall – two from Providence, one from New York city and one from members of Hartford Underground themselves. These were all really well received – if one goes by the resounding applause and cheers each group got. I was part of the Hartford Underground’s performance, and it being the home base – I (perhaps biased-ly) felt we got the loudest cheers!

Here are the performances:

Downcity Strutters (Providence)

Zazou Swing (Providence)

Troupe 212 (New York city)

Hartford Underground (CT)

The dance was followed by visits to a local bar – that had specials on Blue Moon and there were also not one but two late night rooms where people could keep on dancing. One was a ‘fast’ room while the other was a ‘slow’ room. We had asked eight DJs from three states to play music. Admittedly, the number of people who stayed on was much smaller. But the ones that stayed, stayed late into the night and danced to the great tunes the DJs played.

All in all, it was a very successful event. I do hope the energy created by this dance stays on in CT – we definitely need it! The scene has slowly been flagging in energy but there are sure signs of a revival and like I said I do hope this event provides a good impetus forward.

CTLX 2008!

CTLX 2008 just ended – and it was absolutely fantastic! There might be a bit of a self congratulatory bias in that assessment but I believe most folks had a great time. I am going by numerous facebook status and google chat status messages that state the attendees’ contentment from the exchange!

As an organizer, I had my doubts:how many people will attend, how they would respond to the venues and music, will each dance have its own energy? Will people have fun? Thankfully, it all worked out quite well.

We started with The Fried Bananas playing for the Friday evening dance at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, CT. The dance space was beautiful with a really good floor. Despite them being a Boston based band that has played in several local and regional events, somehow I always end up missing the dances where they have played at. They have a really nice, clean lounge/hip-swing feel to them. They seemed technically sound and did not compromise on having a definite swing in their sound. After my initial apprehensions as to how the dance was going wore down, I relaxed and had several fun dances. It was really good to see some old friends I had not for a while and met some awesome new folks.

After the dance many folks went to the Athenian diner near the late night venue to grab a bite before the late night. The DJs at the late night did their bit really well. My friend Camille started the late night, continuing with swingy tunes before the blues/groove/soul mix took over for the rest of the night. I did not dance much that night – I was very tired from it being Friday night and from all the organizing.

The Saturday afternoon dance was a concern of ours: we thought nobody would show up – and the dance did start slow. But the venue was packed by the time I was into my set – the second set of the afternoon, despite it being really sweltering! The music flow was good, in my opinion: Camille and I had the first two sets. I concentrated on playing high energy, not necessarily fast paced stuff. Meghan mellowed it in her set while keeping to swing stuff and all this set it up perfectly for Loreto’s set- who took us home with a good mix of bluesy, groovy and funky stuff. On a personal level, I think it was this dance where I danced hard and found my own dance mojo back!

My guests and I returned to Norwalk – we picked up Rendang curry from my favourite Indonesian-Chinese place and napped before heading over for the evening dance. Solomon Douglas and his quintet were playing that night. I really enjoyed dancing to the band, although later some folks told me they thought the music was below par. I didn’t quite notice that and had some great dances. I was especially happy with surprise out of town visitor friends who came up for Saturday! The late night was a bit low energy for me: I was exhausted, so I went to the dance but kept it low key.

The Sunday afternoon and evening dances were at the African American center at Yale, and were also dances the organizing committee had feared would be poorly attended. But they were packed too – especially the afternoon one and I had a particularly satisfying DJ set myself. The crowd kept the energy up for the entire afternoon. The dancers and DJs fed off each other’s energy and over all it was a great dance! The evening was similar with obviously thinner attendance but there was still fantastic dancing to be had.

Between the two dances was a highlight of the event: a group of us went to a favorite Malaysian restaurant for dinner and were dismayed to find there were no bananas at the restaurant, and hence we could not have fried bananas for dessert. My friend Chandra promptly dashed to her car, found some bananas and the restaurant folks were cool enough to take them and prepare delicious fried bananas for us!

We’re already looking forward to CTLX 2009! All in all, it was a ton of fun. There was good dancing, I got to meet and befriend several dancers, there was good dining/socializing with my guests and other friends. Good times!

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