Bootstrap Example


The lines being so often blurred in common speech, I use the term Big Band / Jive / Swing to catch all instances where the accent is on the ability to dance in a lively, rhythmic fashion to music played by large ensembles typically containing an array of brass, horn, bass and drum players. Sometimes, pieces played with blues and jazz feeling can be included in this genre tag, although many “Big Band” pieces are very often trumped by the Blues / Rhythm n Blues or Jazz genre tags.

The Jukebox Pick (of 441):

 Cow-Cow Boogie

 (Benny Carter, Gene DePaul, Don Raye)

 Freddie Slack and his Orchestra featuring Ella Mae Morse

 10 out of 10 “Utterly perfect” Big Band / Jive / Swing

 For all of her teenage years Ella Mae Morse had been auditioning for radio stations and bandleaders, determined to make the big-time with her singing talents, but it wasn't until she was the grand old age of 17(!) that she got her first big breakthrough. Freddie Slack, formerly pianist with Jimmy Dorsey, had struck out on his own, landing a deal with a brand new label, Capitol Records, co-founded by Johnny Mercer. He remembered Ella from his time with Dorsey, and sought her out as his lead singer of choice. Their very first session was recorded on 21st May 1942 at Hollywood's McGregor Studio, and they were lucky enough to have access to “Cow-Cow Boogie”, written by Jazz arranger Benny Carter with Gene DePaul and Don Raye, both of whom were writing together for Universal Studios. They had written the song for Ella Fitzgerald to sing in the movie comedy “Ride 'Em Cowboy”, but it did not make the director's cut. Morse, however, had learned the song from hearing Fitzgerald on a soundtrack she had acquired. The song was a tribute to the black movie star, Herb Jeffries, whose movies had been reversing the white cowboy stereotype since 1937. Ella Mae sings of Herb's mixed race background: “He's just too much, He's got a knocked out western accent with a Harlem touch, He was raised on local weed, He's what you call a swing half breed”. Freddie Slack's lazy Swing tempo was the perfect canvas for Ella Mae to lay down her bluesy, soulful delivery. “It was a walk in the park, because I had been doing it a couple of months with the band,” she'd later tell biographer Kevin Coffey. “Johnny Mercer (said) 'okay, let's run it through once,' and that's what we thought we were doing. And when we got through with it, he said, 'Wrap it up! That's it, that's a take!' And I burst into tears!” She felt that she could produce a better take, but was over-ruled by Mercer. With Ella Mae's vocals, Freddie's piano and the fine trombone and trumpet solos, he was convinced he had a major hit on his hands, excitedly rush-releasing the single just weeks later. And he was right - it went Top 10 in the Pop Charts, becoming the first one million seller for Capitol Records.

Some favourite artists:

Louis Prima, The Cats and The Fiddle, Ella Mae Morse, Cab Calloway

The Jukebox pick:


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