This hot little number is a swinging lullaby from Ma Rainey’s earlier catalog. You can hear Ma Rainey’s signature vocal styling pouring from her lips. Grab a loved one and swoon to the blues of “Lucky Rock Blues“.
“Lucky Rock Blues“ (play/download mp3)
In 1941 “I’m Chasing Rainbows” was launched onto the pop radar when Judy Garland sang her version in the movie, Ziegfeld Girl. Originally published in 1917, “I’m Chasing Rainbows” has had many performances across a variety of medians including a Broadway show titled: Oh Look!. The song has been recorded numerous times, and in 1918 “I’m Chasing Rainbows” was recorded twice. I’m pleased to give you the Harry Fox version, a version that serves as a window into the the mood and tempo of popular music in 1918.
Harry Fox – “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows“ (play/download mp3)
Leader of the most popular dance bands in the United States during the 1920s, Whiteman’s recordings were immensely successful, and press notices often referred to him as the “King of Jazz.” Using a large ensemble and exploring many styles of music, Whiteman is perhaps best known for his blending of symphonic music and jazz. “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” with vocals by Bob Lawrence was Whiteman’s second to last #1 song, released in 1934.
Paul Whiteman with Bob Lawrence “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes“ (play/download mp3)
Duke Ellington’s music career was as distinguished as he was. His natural affinity for melody and instrumentation made him one of the archetypes of big band leaders. “Jubilee Stomp” is charismatic from beginning to end, drawing in its listener by showcasing several instruments, therefor highlighting the distinct voice of each. This is a song without lyrics yet cascades into beautiful arches and themes.
“Jubilee Stomp” (play/download mp3)
Listening to the infamous Duke Ellington will make you swing your body from head to toe. Duke Ellington’s “Bandanna Babies” is one of those songs that gives you no excuse to get up off your chair and move your hips to the jazzy sounds of the trumpet and trombone, and to the beautiful voice of Dorothy Fields. “Bandanna Babies” is definitely a song worth giving an ear to. Download and enjoy!
Duke Ellington – “Bandana Babies” (play/download)
On March 26, 1928, Duke Ellington recorded the first version of “Black Beauty,” a song he once called The Portrait of Florence Mills. It is thought to be his tribute to the woman he hailed as one of the best black female performers of the 1920s.
Duke Ellington – “Black Beauty” (play/download mp3)
Edward Meeker – “Everybody Loves A Big Brass Band” (mp3)
‚ÄúEverybody Loves a Big Brass Band,‚Äù by Edward Meeker is his all inclusive attempt to bring cheer to the people of 1917. During a time when Americans were focusing on entertaining activities such as baseball and vaudeville skits, music of the early 19TH century focused on being upbeat and lighthearted, anything to keep the minds of Americans off of¬†the war. Just as Meeker chants in his song, ‚Äúall folks gather round when a big band comes to town,‚Äù implying the unifying and jovial effects of music, perhaps also insinuating the relief that will come when the war is over and the big bands will indelibly provide the soundtrack to the people’s celebration.
Louis Armstrong & All His Stars – “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue” (mp3)
Louis Armstrong truly was the Pops of Jazz. “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue” is a classic instrumental jazz favorite highlighting his technique and tone. With his All-Stars playing behind him, his cornet weaves us in-and-out of crescendos and decrescendos. This jazz standard transports you dancing with your sweetheart at a summer soiree.
A soulful rendition of “I Must Have That Man.” Billie Holiday’s intimate crooning and impeccable timing doesn’t disappoint. Lady Day confirms that, like her voice, heartbreak is timeless. Recorded in New York, early on in her career, you feel her personal tragedies in this gem. But, like Billie, the end of this sorrowful song is triumphant with a strong brass finish.
Billie Holiday – “I Must Have That Man” (mp3)