Jive Junction You're not wrong Walter, you're just an asshole. -The Dude

20May/122

Let’s talk about me

Posted by Julius

Some Of These Days:

Do You Ever Think Of Me:

My wife is the hotness on Georgia:

Although it's clear that there is at least one amateur playing with some pros, I think things turned out relatively decently. Let's not talk about the tempo speed ups or lame, messy fills. Well, you can, but I've already analyzed them to death already. Let's be clear; I don't play music because I crave attention. I play it because I love it and I want to stalk it creepily. No wait, I want to honor it and help keep it alive, because slowly and surely its audience is literally dying out. Did you know Sweet and Hot is cancelled this year? If you didn't know what that was, it was a massive trad jazz festival held in the exact same Marriott used by Camp Hollywood. Year by year I watched its attendees diminish in numbers.

Anyway, back to me. I've never been good at public performance. I'm always nervous when people are looking at me. In this case my hands were shaking so badly on the first song (not represented here) that I could barely play. Things settled down but since I haven't spent years perfecting the craft of drumming it was all I could do to focus on playing, much less listen to the other musicians, or watch my friends dance, or absorb much of what anybody said to me on stage.

I'm just glad I didn't get treated the way Charlie Parker did by Jo Jones when he first tried to jam. Reputedly Jo threw a cymbal at Parker's feet during his solo. Corey, Ulf, and Katie were nothing but friendly. Conrad and I are deeply grateful to them.

If you get any amusement or entertainment out of these clips, be it enjoying the music or laughing at my ineptitude, I'm satisfied. It was a huge rush and a dream come true. Thanks for watching.

Filed under: General 2 Comments
23Apr/124

Your turn on May 17th

Posted by Julius

It's easy being a blogger. You think of something to criticize, and then you criticize it. There's no downside. There's no accountability. You can lie through your teeth, or be a hypocrite, or be the dumbest hammer in the barrel of monkeys, and there are no repercussions.

All my life I've sat around and judged bands and musicians. Now it's your turn. I'm playing drums for the opening act at Cinema Bar in Culver City on May 17th. You'll probably find a lot to complain about with my playing, but you'll enjoy Chloe Feoranzo on clarinet, Katie Cavera on bass, and Ulf Bjorlin on trombone for sure. This is my friend Conrad's first gig as a band leader. Come on out and have a drink.

There's probably only room for one couple at a time to dance if that, but there's plenty of room on my back for a big fat target. I talk a lot about music, now it's time to play some.

I think this is the natural progression; from learning the dance, to loving the dance, to learning the music, to loving the music, to playing the music. You can see it in plenty of dancers who've turned into musicians if they weren't already: Josh Collazo, Jonathan Stout, Hilary Alexander, Mike Faltesek, Todd Yannacone, Andy Reid, Solomon Douglas, Mia Goldsmith, Glenn Crytzer, and many dozens more. It will be appropriate to say someday that Lindy Hop helped save traditional jazz and swing music.

By the way, if you are interested in playing music, and if not, what is wrong with you?, I have an irregular jam session at my house. Drop me a line if you are interested.

Filed under: General 4 Comments
16Apr/1212

Top 10 Lindy Hop Things I Just Don’t Get

Posted by Reuben Brown

Sandbox

So I spent yesterday afternoon working in my yard. I had fun clearing out space for my kid's new sandbox, getting it filled with sand (hence the picture of the sandbox from which I will now preach)... fixed an erosion issue with some nice pond rock... ripped out a palm to make way for a bigger turtle "pond" I installed. Seriously, my idea of a great afternoon, but at the same time I know many people would say, "I don't get it, how is all that work fun?" Well, same goes for me when it comes to some common trends among the Lindy Hop crowd... and it just so happens that's what I was thinking about while enjoying my afternoon of yard work, and for once I thought I'd type them out...

Click ‘continue reading’ below to read on.

4Apr/120

Jacob Richard Faust, 1980 – 2005

Posted by Reuben Brown

jakerip

Many of us lost a good friend some seven years ago (at the time of this writing) and Jive Junction was at the time used to engage the community and collect remembrances of our fallen friend. For those who may not know the man, Jacob Faust was a dancer, musician, artist and all around good guy known to many in the Southern California Lindy Hop "scene," but was taken from us early when he was shot to death by San Diego Police on April 4th, 2005 on 4th Avenue. His final resting place is within the gates of Glen Abby Memorial Park, where he was laid to rest on April 11th. I had long hoped to get those remembrances back online since taking the old Jive Junction down, for Jake and for all who knew him, and perhaps now for some of you who didn't, and this past weekend I had the opportunity to do just that. So, without further ado, in honor of the Dude...

Click ‘continue reading’ below to view the photo album and remembrances.

1Apr/120

Jazz, A Meandering Discussion

Posted by Mr. Music Hall

Duke Ellington Orchestra

Not that all jazz is good music, but Leonard Bernstein offered an open-hearted paean to jazz: “People who do not consider jazz to be art music are missing something profound.” And, to the oft-heard dismissive canard “Jazz is just folk music”, a jazzman once replied, “Jazz is not folk music. It’s too hard to play."

Not to get preference parochial on you, but I believe not many rock musicians are much concerned about room acoustics, but jazz musicians and classical music musicians alike are often very acoustics sensitive. Rock music is loud by design; it’s part of the overpowering energetic gravitas of the music; the decibels produced, all too often overwhelm and negate a rooms’ innate acoustics—and sometimes, Rock and Blues music can be so loud that everything in the room including my abdominal viscera vibrate in sympathy with the decibel load. Anyway, each room or space has its own acoustic voice, and I have many times heard a jazz musician wax mellifluent about a room with clean and pleasing acoustics.

I believe that people who think Big Band music is not jazz are… well… misinformed. So much for charitable bias, but the Duke of E and the Count of B would spin in their graves if Big Band music was somehow cast out of the jazz tent.  It’s my firm belief that most Lindy Hoppers have little recognition of how many of the recordings they dance to are recordings made by Big Bands. Some day—probably after my knees finally go completely kaput—I am going to sit through DJed Lindy Hop dances so I can count the number of Big Band tunes as a percentage of all the music played. Didja know there is an American Big Band Preservation Society? Well! Go to www.americanbigband.org. I remember hearing Big Band music as a kid, but when it didn’t resonate in my teenage peers, I dropped my big band fan membership. I remember well my big band re-awakening. It was at a Saturday night dance at a regional Squash tournament in Cleveland, circa 1977. A REALLY GOOD SWINGING big band was playing, and I almost went bonkers. When they were playing, all I wanted to do is listen and let the acoustic sound from those 18 musicians wash over me. I couldn’t abide talking, so I just walked back forth in front of that band with a crazy grin on my face. The band must have thought I was a poor soul who had completely lost “it”, was looking for “it”, and couldn’t find “it”.

In 1963, Duke Ellington was asked, “How have you managed to keep a big band so long when so many others have broken up? Hasn’t the rise of rock ‘an’ roll taken away your audience?” Duke replied, “There’s still a Dixieland audience, a Swing audience, a Bop audience. All the audiences are still there.” Well, the Dixieland audience is fading fast. So too is the big band audience. Perhaps it’s time for you, L’il Lindy Hoppers, to create a new young big band audience. Go witness a good swinging big band—to hear one in full cry is one of the singular thrills found in American music. We, in Minnesota, just lost Chuck Beasley, the notable leader of a fine eponymous big band, and I surely hope someone picks up Chuck’s fallen banner and carries it forth. Lindy Hop can ill afford to lose a good big band which plays for swing dancers—know this, the origins of Lindy Hop and swinging big band music are inexorably joined at the hip.

Thanks for reading.

-Allen Hall

13Feb/120

Book Review: “This Is Your Brain On Music” -Daniel Levitin

Posted by Mr. Music Hall

brainonmusic

(Warning: Don’t read this. It’s too long.)

This is the most important book about music I have ever read, because it explains, based on scientific studies, why musicality is a characteristic of all human societies, and why that should be so. The book even suggests that music (oral song and rhythm, etc.) were the proto-sounds which paved the way for the human behavior of using the spoken word i.e. language. Further, a consensus of world scientists agreed that the most important human invention was oral language. So, it might appear that our ancient humanoid ancestors sang and drummed their way into speaking, after which came structured language, religion, rationality, jingoism, politics, war, poetry, science-fiction, Sunday morning political food-fight TV programs, and railroad box-car tagging (not necessarily in that order).

Click ‘continue reading’ below to read the full review.

9Feb/126

TAKE SMALLER STEPS, KID: Technique Analogies

Posted by Julius

I'd rather be making out

As most of you know, I'm pretty much a nobody. I don't teach. I'm not a competitor. I'm not qualified in any way to tell people how to dance better, so that's why I'm going to do just that.
If Bart Bartolo can walk up to a random schmoe and grab him by the head and use his gravelly voice to tell him to "TAKE SMALLER STEPS, KID", surely I'm entitled too.

Oh, click that thing!

9Feb/1211

2012 Dance Event Recommendations For…

Posted by Reuben Brown

Showdown Second Line

...people primarily just looking to have a good time. You may ask "but doesn't everyone go to dance events to have a good time?" Well, yeah, but these are for people who don't care about dance contests, don't care about lessons, don't care about being on the dance floor every living second it's available. Sure, these events have all that, if you want, but to me these events also offer that extra fun factor of having a great space to hang out in and/or are in a city that's interesting enough that you actually want to leave the main event to explore. Sorry I won't be going into the details of all the things you can do in each of the cities these events are in, but that's what Google's for. I did one of these late last year as well, but for this year's I'm realizing that these are actually the attributes I care about in a dance event, so I've adjusted my list accordingly. So here we go, the dance events I'd personally make a special effort to attend (even if I already know I'm not going to make it to most of them):

Click ‘continue reading’ below to read on to this year's list of recommendations.

3Feb/1232

Sporadic Rant of the Week: Losing It

Posted by Julius

Jitterbug in Harlem, Mid-1930s

I'm at an odd place in my dancing "career", if you can call a career "someone who used to talk way too much about dancing online and occasionally managed to impress someone credulous while dancing with them". I don't travel much anymore. I'm the parent of a new, absurdly adorable daughter. Dancing doesn't seem so relevant anymore. But by God, I still have opinions flowing out my butthole. So here's one.

Where the hell did swivels go? When swivels have been replaced with "walk walk", that is the first step on the staircase to Satan. Is it because most followers now wear pants? Is it because leads always pull in on one? Does the music not call for a strong "eight and one"? Did all followers get surgery to fuse their lower vertebrae?

Whatever it is, stop it. I'm an old cranky man with little to no influence in the dance scene, but I rely upon you, O reader, the one who is more in touch with the current scene than this milk-sodden dad (maybe you are even a world-renowned teacher), I rely upon you to spread the word. Bring back swivels. Sharp, nasty, in-your-face swivels. Swivels that could cut blocks of ice with your hipbones. Swivels that make Aeron chairs with teflon coated bearings look like tree stumps with rocks for wheels.

What else has Lindy Hop lost recently?

Tagged as: 32 Comments
26Jan/121

Hal Takier: 1917 – 2012

Posted by Marcelo Teson

Hal Takier - Los Angeles Public Library

Hal Takier passed away recently after an extended illness. He was the greatest swing dancer of all time. And I mean that in the generic sense of the word, not in the specific niche of what he danced, which he called "Swing" to differentiate it from "Balboa" or "pure Bal." Hal was just the man. No other dancer danced longer, harder, or faster. No one in Lindy Hop, no one in pure Balboa, no one. And perhaps the best thing about him is that he did it for all the right reasons. Hal was never a professional dancer like Dean Collins or Frankie Manning. He worked all his life in a rubber factory down in the southern part of LA, driving up to Hollywood to compete in the weekly cutting contests, which he won regularly (much to Dean Collins's dismay). An amateur who danced as a hobby and schooled pro dancers wherever he went, he didn't do it for money or fame, he did it because he loved the music and loved dancing to it.

Click ‘continue reading’ below to read on about Hal Takier.