Ever since people began going to Prohibition-era speakeasies and dance halls, a tune with a swinging beat has never failed to get the feet moving and the fingers snapping.
Since the revival of swing in the 1980s by big bands like Royal Crown Revue, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Cherry-Poppin’ Daddies, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, younger musicians, DJs and producers have been inspired to dive into the vast catalogue of music from the past 90 years, combining it with hip hop, house and EDM, even Eastern European folk and klezmer music as electro-swing.
Tunes as diverse as charlsteson and ragtime classics, Latin mambos and tangoes, jazz staples, lindy hop, boogie woogie, and even 60s gogo, have been reworked, remixed, refreshed, and had electronic tricks and ballsy bass tracks added, to excite new generations of discos and nightclubs goers.
Hong Kong Beat presents an hour of electro-swing from a recent retro swing party.
As a young child in the late 50s and early 60s, I remember watching war era movies and being amazed by the big bands shown on them. The way sections of music switched from one set of instruments to another, the snazzy smartness of the band members’ suits, the way a section would leap to their feet to play a couple of chords like jacks-in-the box.
And of course, this music was still on the radio my mother listened to around the house in those days and, later, played at the dinner balls that my parents would take me to, where they dressed up just as smartly and danced around the floor all night.
So, while at the time I was digging the Beatles, Stones and later, soul, funk, and almost every other kind of popular music, the music of the big band swing era had forever etched a place in my love of music.
So this week’s Sunday Selection presents just a few of the greats of that era.
You’d have to be made of stone not to be snapping your fingers and tapping your toes to these.