Connecting Lindy Hop scene to Jazz and Swing history

hipsterlogogenerator_1450951530971Thanks to the support of the writer and dancer Cynthia Millman, co-author of the Frankie Manning Autobiography and member of the board of the Frankie Manning Foundation, that shared some positive comments and link from this blog, writing about my project for a public soundtrack-playlist of her book, Mazz Jazz has finally become really international! 🙂

Thanks to her the number of international visits has grown instantly a lot, so it’s really time to speak english! I will work more and more on what has been my intention since the beginning of this blog a few months ago, I mean translating my contents from my native tongue to english, in order to let the international audience (which has always read this blog since the beginning, mostly from USA, France and Asia) understand.

This is what she wrote to me a few days ago, it was a wonderful xmas present and recognition to me, I’d like to share it with you (of course I quote it under her authorization):

I wanted to thank you so much for your project on the soundtrack of Frankie Manning’s life. It’s an absolutely wonderful idea, and I am very grateful for your enthusiasm for the book, and the time you put into this project. I am sure the music will draw some people to Frankie’s life story, much as it drew Frankie to dancing. 
Several years before the book was published, a swing dance historian named Terry Monaghan (who unfortunately passed away several years ago), invited me to do a radio program with him on WBGO, a jazz station broadcasting out of Newark, NJ. The concept was similar to yours. We walked through the station’s CD library picking out all the songs we could find that Frankie mentioned. Then we told anecdotes about his life, each leading into one of the songs. 
So I was super glad to hear that you have created this program based on the fabulous music in Frankie’s life. Best wishes with this, and thank you again for sharing your knowledge of jazz, and helping dancers find their way to the music and to Frankie. 

But first of all of course I apologize, there might be mistakes in the way I write in english, hop this won’t get too bad for international readers.

I’d like here to start introducing the purpose of this Mazz Jazz blog: connecting the wonderful and international Lindy Hop scene to the marvellous Jazz and Swing history. As you can see, I use Swing and Jazz as sinonimous, because the music we dance as lindyhoppers is Jazz. Swing is the name that US society gave to Jazz during the ’30s and ’40s, because Jazz was a word with an ethnical and racial mark that could not fit to the middle class white America. But what we love to dance is Jazz, in all his power and full effect, played by some of the biggest big band of those decades.

As the Frankie Manning Foundation does, following his teaching and humanity, when we talk about music and dance we should always consider also a social perspective. Remembering Jazz and Lindy Hop were born in New Orleans and Harlem, it also means that we should consider afroamerican history and segregation (not only) in US society.

So in this blog you’ll find articles about jazz and swing music, lindy hop history, curiosities and episodes, reviews and some of my dj’ing projects. My aim is always to promote fun and culture. I truly believe that they can walk together, and this is also why I’m a teacher in my professional life. I don’t want to bore dancers, but during my dj set and with my articles I’d like to explain why Jazz music is so amazing and how much you can find and enjoy in its world.

Well, I’ll try to keep this blog more and more international and to offer both italian and english sides in the future, in the meantime I thank you for your attention, this was a brief presentation, you can find more in my Mazz Jazz (aka Professor Bop) and in the Hot Club de Milan FB group that I created in order to promote Jazz and Swing music.

All the best and more soon, let’s enjoy our happy feet (and ears)!

🙂

Mazz Jazz (aka Professor Bop)

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Annunci

Last minute ideas for a SWINGIN’ AND JAZZY XMAS

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Ho volutamente omesso da questo post bibliografico di alcune settimane fa un libro tanto breve quanto fondamentale, per capire cosa sia stato lo Swing. Perché volevo consigliarlo per un regalo dell’ultimo minuto a Natale, insieme a quella che si autodefinisce (a buon titolo) la collezione perfetta di musica Jazz.

Il libro è Swing, scritto nel 1948 da Gaston Criel (con la presentazione di Jean Cocteau e Charles Delaunay). Il libro è un piccolo tesoro che ci restituisce l’atmosfera entusiasta e febbrile che accompagnò la diffusione del Jazz in Europa negli anni del primo dopoguerra, a cominciare da Paris. L’autore fu un poeta e scrittore esistenzialista, introdotto nei circoli letterari e culturali francesi, nonché membro fondatore dello storico Hot Club de France. Criel fu arrestato per motivi politici durante la guerra e una volta ritornato alla libertà volle celebrare con questo inno poetico e in prosa alla musica Hot e Swing. Da leggere tutto di un fiato! 🙂

La raccolta musicale si chiama Jazz On Disques Vogue ed è sempre frutto del fondamentale contributo francese a questa musica nel secondo dopoguerra, con l’etichetta discografica Disques Vogue, le cui pubblicazioni Jazz erano curate proprio da Charles Delaunay, anima fondante dell’Hot Club de France. Questo cofanetto di cd, venduto ad un prezzo non esorbitante (particolare importante), raccoglie 35 album originali pubblicati tra le fine degli anni ’40 e gli anni ’50, con un rassegna di incisioni in studio e dal vivo che restituisce molto bene un quadro completo del Jazz di quegli anni: furia ritmica Hot, tonalità Blues, orchestrazioni Swing e la nascita del primo Be Bop. I musicisti coinvolti sono grandi della musica afroamericana, ma anche molti interpreti francesi. Non da ultimo, il tutto è ben curato nella grafica che ricostruisce i vinili originali e nel libretto di trova un’ampia e precisa introduzione ad ogni brano. Qualche nome: Sidney Bechet, Django Reinhardt, Lee Konitz, Oscar Pettiford, Max Roach, Martial Solal, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Roy Eldridge, Mary Lou Williams e tanti altri. Buon ascolto! 🙂

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I’d like to suggest here 2 last minute xmas presents. I find them the best way to give a swingin’ and jazzy touch to this time of the year.

The book is Swing by Gaston Criel, a french existentialist poet that wrote this short book in 1948, after a period of detention due to political reasons. His hymn to freedom is also an hymn to Hot Jazz and Swing, sung here through a collection of poems and essays which brilliantly draw the Jazz atmophere in Paris after the end of the WW2. Please find this book in your country and I’m sure you will enjoy a lot all the entusiasm and emphasis that Criel put in his words, a sort of Jazz music by words. Criel was actually a founding member of the Hot Club de France.

Something then about music, with this wonderful box Jazz On Disques Vogue that put together 35 original albums by the french label Disques Vogue, which contributed to the promotion of Jazz in France and Europe thanks to the collaboration of Charles Delaunay, founder of the Hot Club de France. Here you will find studio and live recordings by the likes of Sidney Bechet, Django Reinhardt, Lee Konitz, Oscar Pettiford, Max Roach, Martial Solal, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Roy Eldridge, Mary Lou Williams and many more. All the best from the end of the ’40s and ’50s, with a Swing touch, an euphoric Hot rhythm and an emerging Be Bop sound. Last but not least: it is very well done graphically and it doesn’t cost too much! 🙂

La seconda iniziativa dell’Hot Club de Milan: A CHRISTMAS JAZZ TALE

A Christmas Jazz Tale

Abbiamo il piacere di presentare la seconda iniziativa dell’Hot Club de Milan, che segue la riuscita inaugurazione del 14 novembre presso il salone delle arti di Villa Litta a Milano.

Eventi creati allo scopo di promuovere la conoscenza del Jazz (ballabile) della prima metà del Novecento, cercando di unire mondi che non sempre sono comunicanti, anche se hanno così tanto in comune: gli appassionati di musica Jazz e i ballerini di Lindy Hop (e dintorni). Raccontare la storia di quel periodo musicale così fecondo, magari anche cogliendo l’occasione per fare quattro salti in location non abituali nel mondo del ballo, è l’obiettivo anche di questa serata organizzata a Milano nei locali del Circolo Culturale Italo Calvino, al cui interno da due anni organizziamo incontri dedicati alla musica e al ballo (nella sottosezione denominata Italo Jazz).

Ci avvarremo per l’occasione di un ospite speciale, Mr. Gionni FortyFive, collezionista di vinili a 45 giri e fonomescitore che unisce competenza e passione. Abbiamo costruito insieme una scaletta che ci permetterà di proporre una selezione ampia di brani, che comprono i principali generi del Jazz della prima metà del Novecento, con in più qualche sorpresa proposta dal gusto raffinato e curioso del dj-collezionista.

Sarà una serata speciale, che coglie l’occasione del Natale per riunire in un ambiente raccolto chi desidera ascoltare la musica di qualità proveniente da un giradischi (e magari danzare), introdotta da un racconto che si snoda attraverso alcuni dei principali protagonisti ed episodi della storia musica Jazz, Hot Jazz e Swing. Un’iniziativa rivolta anche a chi vuole scoprire in periferia il valore di una cultura tutt’altro che periferica.

Come recita la citazione fotografica in calce, tratta da un 45 giri della collezione, tutti brani divertenti e trascinanti, che ci trasporteranno in un passato ancora assai vivo e vegeto, per la ricchezza musicale e storica ancora tutta da esplorare.

A domani sera e alle prossime iniziative dell’GHot Club de Milan!

🙂

Mazz Jazz (aka Professor Bop)

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HOW TO… consigli per la navigazione nel blog

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In questa fase di pausa da fine anno, durante la quale mi limiterò a tradurre in inglese alcuni dei precedenti post, per facilitarne la fruizione al pubblico internazionale e ad informare sulla prossima iniziativa dell’Hot Club de Milan, trovo utile scrivere due righe per spiegare la struttura e l’articolazione del blog (che riguarda Jazz, Swing e Lindy Hop). Spero in questo modo di renderne più facile la consultazione.

L’idea infatti è di avere uno strumento agile e semplice, ma alcune indicazioni possono essere utili, perché forse non immediate nella forma che ho scelto per il blog.

Cominciamo dal menù principale: dove si trova? Partendo dalla home, in alto a destra trovate un quadrato con 3 righe interne; aprendolo troverete il riassunto dei contenuti, le indicazioni sulla licenza Creative Commons adottata e alcuni link consigliati.

L’archivio dei contenuti è consultabile per mesi o per categorie. Ho scelto infatti di suddividere il blog per temi che possano essere scelti da chi è maggiormente interessato ad un argomento, piuttosto che un altro.

La licenza ha una filosofia così riassumibile: massima libertà di condivisione, citando però la fonte e senza utilizzi commerciali.

I link che consiglio sono tutti a blog che trattano argomenti musicali o di ballo affini a quelli di Mazz Jazz.

Poi la mia presentazione in questa pagina. Ho tradotto da poco l’introduzione in inglese. Nel menù trovate anche il link alla mia pagina Facebook, che è in costante aggiornamento.

Non da ultimo, ogni tot di pubblicazioni inserisco un articolo che funge da indice, con il riepilogo di tutto quanto è stato scritto fino a quel momento.

Non volevo rubarvi troppa attenzione, spero risulti cosa gradita questo breve articolo di istruzioni e consigli, per permettervi di navigare meglio in questo blog.

TRANSLATION

During this short break I will try to translate some of my previous articles in english, in order to make it easier to read for international people. I hope it can also be useful to post here a few instructions and suggestions, so to explain the structure and philosophy of this blog about Jazz, Swing and Lindy Hop. Hopefully this will be useful for a better surf.

My idea is to have a simple and quick tool, but the shape of this blog may need some further instructions.

First, about the main menu: when you are at the home, click on the square up on the right of the screen, it will open a page where you can find all the articles divided per category, the Creative Commons licence that I use and some links that I suggest.

You can choose if you like to select the articles per month or category. I divided the blog following some of the main topics I write about, so that people can choose what to read.

Here is the philosophy of the licence I adopted: feel free to share, but please quote the source and no commerciale use.

I suggest then some english and italian websites, mainly blogs, that are about similar topics and which I find interesting and well done.

Here you can find my brief presentation, also translated now in english. In the main menu you can also find the link to my Facebook page.

Every now and then I also publish an index article, where I list all the posts of this blog.

Here it is, I hope you find it easier to surf the blog and most of all I hope you enjoy it!

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Un saluto e a presto con nuovi contenuti,

best greetings and see you soon with more articles!

🙂

Mazz Jazz (aka Professor Bop)

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The Dream Team of Jazz: the wonderful PHOTOS BY WILLIAM P. GOTTLIEB

William P. Gottlieb (1917 – 2006), born in Brooklyn, was a great US photographer and journalist. We remember him because he left one of the best photo collection about the world of Jazz music in NY around the ’30s and ’40s. His pictures are now a public domain, because his will was to gift them to the Library of Congress so that everybody can see and use them. A huge thanks to this man!

This blog has a Creative Commons licence (please find it in the main menu), so I will share some of his photos, so to create a list of my personal Dream Team of Jazz, a game I proposed some week ago following a similar initiative by BBC.

Have a nice photographic and historical tour!

🙂

Mazz Jazz (aka Professor Bop)

PLEASE NOTE

In some cases it was not possible to find pictures of the choosen artist, so I decided to substitute him/her with another one that as connected or similar for musical or historical reasons.

1. Louis Armstrong (because he was Mr. Jazz)

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[Portrait of Louis Armstrong, Aquarium, New York, N.Y., ca. July 1946] (LOC) Gottlieb, William P., 1917-, photographer.

2. Duke Ellington (the best north-american composer of the twentieth century)

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[Portrait of Duke Ellington, Cat Anderson, and Sidney De Paris(?), Aquarium, New York, N.Y., ca. Nov. 1946] (LOC) Gottlieb, William P., 1917-, photographer.

3. Charlie Parker (the main soloist of the last century)

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[Portrait of Charlie Parker, Tommy Potter, Miles Davis, Duke Jordan, and Max Roach, Three Deuces, New York, N.Y., ca. Aug. 1947] (LOC) Gottlieb, William P., 1917-, photographer.

4. Billie Holiday (the best singer of the twentieth century)

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[Portrait of Billie Holiday, Downbeat(?), New York, N.Y., ca. June 1946] (LOC) Gottlieb, William P., 1917-, photographer.

5. Miles Davis (for his genuine and great Jazz spirit)

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[Portrait of Howard McGhee and Miles Davis, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947] (LOC) Gottlieb, William P., 1917-, photographer.

6. Ella Fitzgerald (the most joyful scat singer)

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[Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald, New York, N.Y., ca. Nov. 1946] (LOC) Gottlieb, William P., 1917-, photographer.

7. Thelonious Monk (a great Jazz composer)

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[Portrait of Thelonious Monk and Howard McGhee, Minton’s Playhouse, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947] (LOC) Gottlieb, William P., 1917-, photographer.

8. Dizzy Gillespie (for his musical intelligence)

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[Portrait of Dizzy Gillespie, John Lewis, Cecil Payne, Miles Davis, and Ray Brown, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948] (LOC) Gottlieb, William P., 1917-, photographer.

9. Count Basie (the greatest Swing orchestra)

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[Portrait of Count Basie, Aquarium, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948] (LOC) Gottlieb, William P., 1917-, photographer.

10. Django Reinhardt (the greates european Jazz artist)

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[Portrait of Al Sears, Shelton Hemphill, Junior Raglin, Django Reinhardt, Lawrence Brown, Harry Carney, and Johnny Hodges, Aquarium, New York, N.Y., ca. Nov. 1946] (LOC) Gottlieb, William P., 1917-, photographer.

11. Lester Young (for his influential ad inspirational sax)

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[Portrait of Lester Young, Famous Door, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1946] (LOC) Gottlieb, William P., 1917-, photographer.

12. John Coltrane (for his spiritual aura and musical skills)

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[Portrait of Coleman Hawkins and Miles Davis, Three Deuces, New York, N.Y., ca. July 1947] (LOC) Gottlieb, William P., 1917-, photographer.

13. Coleman Hawkins (the first great soloist)

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[Portrait of Coleman Hawkins and Miles Davis, Three Deuces, New York, N.Y., ca. July 1947] (LOC) Gottlieb, William P., 1917-, photographer.

14. Fats Waller (a creative and crazy Jazz genius)

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[Portrait of Harry Gibson, Diamond studio, New York, N.Y.(?), ca. Apr. 1947] (LOC) Gottlieb, William P., 1917-, photographer.

15. Fletcher Henderson (the one who invented Swing music)

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[Portrait of Benny Goodman, 400 Restaurant, New York, N.Y., ca. July 1946] (LOC) Gottlieb, William P., 1917-, photographer.

PS

Please find the complete gallery here.

Prendiamoci una pausa di riflessione (INDEX #4)

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Conscio della quantità di scritti che produco, ogni tanto trovo giusto fermarmi per dare il tempo a chi fosse interessato di leggere con calma e riprendere i vari post. Più o meno ogni migliaio di visite faccio una pausa e riepilogo le puntate precedenti. Siamo quasi arrivati a vetta 4.000, faccio quindi il punto con questo quarto indice.

Ma c’è anche una novità: avendo riscontrato un discreto interesse da parte di lettori provenienti dall’estero (le statistiche del sito dicono soprattutto da USA, Germania, Francia e Corea), i prossimi post saranno dedicati alla traduzione in inglese di alcuni dei contenuti prodotti finora. Parto già da questo indice, che più sotto tradurrò a beneficio di tutti.

Vi ringrazio sentitamente per l’attenzione e spero vogliate continuare a seguire questo blog, che si propone come punto di riferimento e connessione tra il mondo danzante del Lindy Hop e il mondo musicale del Jazz.

Un saluto cordiale,

Mazz Jazz (aka Professor Bop)

INDICE – INDEX

In ordine di pubblicazione, i primi 13 articoli sono qui (please find here the first 13 articles of this blog).

Seguiti dai successivi 7 qui (the following 7 articles here).

Altri 9 post a questo link (from 23 to 31 here).

E ora DALLA TRENTADUESIMA ALLA QUARANTESIMA PUNTATA:

I dj che fecero la storia: SYMPHONY SID

The PROFESSOR BOP SHOW + TriSWING

Jazz, Swing e Lindy Hop: CONSIGLI PER LA LETTURA

I migliori artisti Jazz di sempre (secondo la BBC)

SWINGIN’ THE BLUES (per sapere cosa è lo Swing, citofonare COUNT BASIE)

Il Dream Team del Jazz: LE STRAORDINARIE FOTOGRAFIE DI WILLIAM P. GOTTLIEB

Cosa è il Jazz: un richiamo d’amore creolo (cit. Ellington)

La colonna sonora dell’AUTOBIOGRAFIA DI FRANKIE MANNING

The soundtrack of the FRANKIE MANNING’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY

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I’d like to thank all the non-italian readers of this blog. Thanks a lot for your patience, because I promised in the beginning to provide english versions of the articles, but only with the last post about Frankie Manning’s autobiography I actually started the complete translation. I see in the statistics that people from USA, Germany, France, Corea and other places in the world read and visit my blog and this is a special pleasure and honor to me. I apologize for my english, I’m an italian native speaker and I guess you can understand this from my written lines. Anyway, here I provide the fourth index of the blog, further on I’ll try to translate some of my former posts in english, so that hopefully more international people could read them.

Thanks a lot for you attention, best regards to our happy feet!

🙂

Mazz Jazz (aka Professor Bop)

The soundtrack of the FRANKIE MANNING’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY

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So here I am finally starting the english version of this blog with this post about a little work I made a few years ago, when I was so entusiastic about this music and dance, that that I read through all the Frankie Manning’s autobiography searching for the songs and artists mentioned by one of the most famous lindyhoppers in the world.

This is the book I’m talking about, I guess most of you already knows it. What I missed was a sort of soundtrack that can be inspired by Frankie’s life, so I provided a playlist including all the tracks and musicians mentioned in this wonderful book, a true story of the brilliant but tragic past century. A story from an afroamerican point of view into the show business, where a little bit of integration was faster, compared to the segregation into US society.

So most of the book is about Harlem during the ’30s and ’40s and of course there’s a lot about the Savoy Ballroom, but what I found very interesting is also what happened after the Second World War. Musically speaking, also most of the songs are from the Swing Era, a period that Manning lived very powerfully. You can find in my playlist some of the best black big bands of all times, Frankie’s favourites like Chick Webb and then Count Basie. But there is also some very good Hot Jazz from Fats Waller for instance and some of the first true swing big bands (the likes of Henderson, Redman, Ellington). Plus some of the most successfull white orchestras of the times when Frankie swung his life out (Dorsey, Hill).

There are 35 tracks and most of them are directly mentioned by Frankie, but some are added under my choice, between the artists that are only written without a specific quote of one of their composition. Plus, a few ones are choosen between the most influencial artists of the beginning of the Swing Era described by this book.

My intention was not to provide a sort of “best of”, what you can better find for instance here, but to tell a story through the wonderful Jazz music of the 20th century.

So please find at this link my playlist, I hope you’ll enjoy and share (quoting the source and without commercial use, following the Creative Commons licence of this blog) my playlist, a tribute to a great man and to the most wonderful Jazz and Swing music:

Frankie Manning’s Autobiography Soundtrack

I was very happy to read on Facebook that my qork was appreciated by the Frankie Manning Foundation and here I am again share this with all of you, in order to enjoy good music inspired by the best Lindy Hop stories of the 20th century.

All the best to our happy feets then,

Mazz Jazz (aka Professor Bop)

🙂

PS

My intention is to provide more and more an english translation of this blog, but it is often quicker to use my language as a native speaker. I see many posts are read also abroad and I want to thank all of you for the patience and attention.