Sunday, February 17, 2013

Swinging The Dream

From the book:

The first chapter tells the story of Benny Goodman's band, set out on a tour of America in May 1935, but was still poorly received. By August 1935, Goodman found himself with a band that was nearly broke, disillusioned and ready to quit.

"Kids: they dance before they learn there
is anything that isn't music."
 
They were trying to please an audience who, at that time in America, had favored the sweet style of music, Waltz, Foxtrot, a little Rumba, types of slow ballroom music, but their hearts were not in it and they were not doing a good job of  it. Goodman called it "the most humiliating experience of my life." But they had to try one more time.

"Let's Dance" by Benny Goodman 

August 21, 1935 Goodman and his band began the last gig, at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles. On top of the Let's Dance airplay, Al Jarvis had been playing Goodman records on KFWB radio, and Los Angeles fans were primed to hear him in person. Goodman started the evening with stock arrangements, its conventionally melodic numbers. And when the crowd failed to react, Goodman figured the end of his jazz band experiment had arrived.

"String Of Pearls" - Benny Goodman

Trumpeter Bunny Berigan yelled, "Let's cut this shit!" and Goodman decided that if they were going to fail, the band would go down swinging. He began the second set with the arrangements by Fletcher Henderson and Spud Murphy. The dancers responded to one Fletcher Henderson arrangement after another. A roar rose among the crowd-- and the Swing Era was born.

The Palomar engagement was such a marked success it is often exaggeratedly described as the beginning of the swing era but it is clear in retrospect that the Swing Era had been waiting to happen, but it was Goodman and his band that touched it off. Over the course of the engagement, the "Jitterbug" began to appear as a new dance craze, and radio broadcasts carried the band's performances across the nation.

 "Swinging the Dream" explores the world at this time, looking at the racial mixing up and musical swinging that shook the nation.

"Goodbye" by Benny Goodman

Pub's Side Note: A dance blog is what all 'dance websites would like to be, updated on a regular basis, containing content that is of interest to a select or target audience. Information easy to update and change. Our readers are gradually picking up on this action and will eventually get their two cents in.


 

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