So you started Lindy Hop and don't know where to begin your musical journey?
For you, here is a rather comprehensive list of Jazz and Swing artists, for your enjoyment.
It's best to start at the beginning, with the New Orleans Hot Jazz of the 1920's (I include some song suggestions, but all material from these artists is worth checking out)
- King Oliver: Shake it & Break it
- Fletcher Henderson: What-cha-call-em Blues
- Muggsy Spanier: I Wish I could Shimmy (like my sister Kate)
- Bix Beiderbecke: Royal Garden Blues
- Louis Armstrong Hot Five: Got no Blues
Then if you move on the the real era of Big Band Swing, (mid 1930s) you can't go wrong with anything from the big band leaders:
- Artie Shaw: Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise
- Benny Goodman: Don't be That Way
- Count Basie: One O'clock Jump
- Duke Ellington: Perdido ( a must have!)
- Chick Webb: Spinnin the Web
- Lionel Hampton: Hey ba ba re bop
- Teddy Wilson: Don't be that Way
Also, some early Rhythm 'n' Blues is great for swinging to:
- Lucky Millinder: Big Fat Mama, Shout Sister Shout
- Jesse Stone: Cole Slaw
- Wynonie Harris: Keep on Churnin' (til the Butter Comes)
There were some amazing female vocalists during the 40's who could really swing!
- Ella Fitzgerald: Solid as a Rock, Won't you Come Home Bill Bailey?, Smooth Sailing Billie Holiday, On the Sunny Side of the Street, Easy Living
- Peggy Lee: Why Don't you Do Right?
- Nina Simone: My Baby Just Cares for Me, Gimme a Pigfoot
And you absolutely must have:
- Sidney Bechet: everything by him is just perfect!
There are some great modern jazz/swing bands out there too. Dr Bernard Berkhout is based in Den Haag and his music is fantastic, the best Lindy Hop band in the Netherlands. Other good modern bands who really swing: The Kalishnikovs (also based in Netherlands!), Gordon Webster, Shirt Tail Stompers, Meschiya Lake, Gentlemen & Gangsters, Hot Sugar Band, Magic Shookheads.
Enjoy your musical journey, see you in class!
Photo credit: King Cole Trio (http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/d549b4a0-5bcd-0132-5016-58d385a7bbd0)