Friday, October 31, 2008

treasure hunting

a few weeks back, my friend brad asked about a tune that wasn't quite "flying home". all the local swing DJs knew we'd heard what he was humming, but we didn't know the title.

after a lot of listening to samples (and consequently spending all my emusic downloads for the month on things that weren't it but were cool) because i'm too stubborn to just ask the swing djs discussion board, i've got it.

it's (trumpet fanfare) "flying home no. 2". despite the less-than-thrilling moniker, it's a pretty interesting little story. when lionel hampton put together his band, he wanted arnett cobb to play tenor sax for him. arnett cobb had another good gig going, so he didn't join up. instead, hampton got illinois jacquet -- then just a teenager -- to join up on condition that he switch from alto to tenor and "play like cobb". the way jacquet wailed and honked on his improvised solo when they recorded "flying home" in 1942 was so wildly popular that almost every sax player since has played it like jacquet -- it's become a nearly inherent part of the tune, which is highly unusual for a jazz solo. when arnett cobb DID decide to join the band later in 1942, he learned the jacquet way of playing "flying home"... but he also reworked the solo his way, and the band recorded it as "flying home no. 2" in 1944, shortly after the recording strike ended.

(all info taken from the internet, mostly things that pop up when you search for "flying home no. 2" plus "cobb", so no guarantees! found this in my unfinished draft posts from last weekend...)

Monday, October 27, 2008


at some point on the bus on the way here this morning, i started giggling over the realization of exactly how horrified the junior high-age me (the one who could spend an hour trying to hairspray my way into compliance with acceptable early 90s curling-ironed coiffure, usually unsuccessfully) would be with my current morning routine.

ok, so i usually brush my hair before heading out the door. but when one is trying to recover from a decade of chronic tardiness and dealing with a bus that waits for no one, sometimes the cosmetic stuff slips. like today. if the watch hits 7 a.m., shoes go on, ready or not, here i come.

(i do keep a gym bag at work with all the necessary grooming stuff, and i can usually duck into the bathroom before anybody sees my just-rolled-out-of-bed look. but me, the 13-yr-old version, would still be completely mortified.)

Friday, October 24, 2008


it's been a good week for dancing... jammin' on the james up in richmond over the weekend, then rumba monday night and the fred on wednesday. wednesday night, i was in the mood to try out some music i hadn't played for a crowd before. there'd just been a beginner bal class, people seemed to be willing to dance faster than usual, and the kind of chunky swing and trad jazz that i'm partial to was working... all in all, it led to the best overlap of DJing for the floor and DJing for me that i've gotten to do in a long time -- none of the clearing the floor with something i wanted to hear and then trying to woo them back with a scene favorite. super fun, and it's been inspiring me to hunt down more interesting tracks for next week. here's the setlist (numbers on the end = tempos in beats per minute):

Swingin' On Nothing - Bob Crosby 128
Sunday - Kay Starr 155
Tap Room Swing - Adrian Rollini 179
It Dont Mean A Thing - Duke Ellington 178
My Blue Heaven - Jimmie Lunceford 172
Take It Easy Greasy No. 2 - Lil Johnson 139
All The Cats Join In - Billy Butterfield And His Orchestra 156
A Study In Brown - Bunny Berigan 198
In The Mood - Oscar Aleman 175
A String Of Pearls - Benny Goodman 180
Are You Jumpin' Jack? - Glenn Miller and his Orchestra 196
Tuxedo Junction - The International Sweethearts Of Rhythm 143
Miser's Serenade - Chris Connor 136
Savoy Blues - The Wolverines Jazz Band Of Bern 138
Nature Boy - Johnny Hartman 145
Sugarfoot Stomp - Harry James 165
The Donkey Serenade - Artie Shaw 147
Solid as a Rock - Count Basie 136
Swing, Brother, Swing - Billie Holiday 151
New Orleans Bump - Jelly Roll Morton 120
Salty Dog - Lizzie Miles with Sharkey & His Kings Of Dixieland 194
Stealin' Apples - Fletcher Henderson 174
All Of Me - Della Reese 160
Hard Hearted Hannah - Ray McKinley 110
Cajun Romp - Wingy Manone And Dixieland Jazztette 139
It Had To Be You - Adrian Rollini 175
Hallelujah Joe Ain't Preachin' No More - Harlem Hamfats 166
Ball Of Fire - Gene Krupa 189
Big John's Special - Mills Blue Rhythm Band 202
The Mooche - Johnny Otis 122
Carioca - Artie Shaw 220
Riff Staccato - Duke Ellington 140
My Buddy - Lionel Hampton 186
Them There Eyes - Roy Milton 146
Douce Ambiance - Robert Bell 170
Let's Misbehave - Boilermaker Jazz Band 198

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

totally unsolicited endorsement - messagesling

i've been running my voicemail service on my cell phone to for about a month now.

and i just wanted to say... for a chronic phone-forgetter like me, it's fan-freakin'-tastic. on the phone itself, i get a text message to notify me of new voicemail, and i can call to retrieve it... but it ALSO gets delivered to my e-mail account as an mp3, so on days when i forgot to bring my cell phone along to the office, i still get all the stuff worth leaving a message over. especially critical when my decisions about evening plans hinge on other people's logistics.

days like today. i seriously need to find an a different alarm clock and move my cell phone charger so it never has to leave my backpack at night.

(this blog needs a new name. i'm still dancing regularly if more locally, and tonight's contingent plan is actually the second week dancing at victor's new venue, but i'm a total flop at staying on topic.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"liveblogging" the debate...

i was going to watch tonight's presidential debate live.

then i got home from work, saw jesse was still asleep, and decided that curling up for a nap sounded like a good idea.

we overslept. it's almost 11:30, and i'm just now starting the debate. oops.

somehow, using google chat to watch with friends just isn't quite as much fun when they all saw it two hours ago...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

shrunk world

i finally went back and faced the mechanic yesterday. they hadn't called me back as promised with the "low" estimate for replacing the engine in my car, and i hadn't called them back since stalling at least until mom had time to mail me the title felt like a good idea. (i got this car by telling my dad how much i was willing to spend for a car and asking him to find me something relatively reliable. and it worked, at least for several years! so the car was mine, but the title was still in manchester.)

$2,500. nope. nicely, though, they're ok with my leaving the car there until i can figure out what to do with it. donate it? (i'm not sure my income bracket makes a tax write-off worthwhile, but the warm fuzzies would be nice...) sell it to a scrap dealer? put it up on craigslist and see if i can get anyone to offer anything for it? haul it up here and see if jesse's friend weaver agrees that the current engine is really, truly dead? (weaver, by the way, is helping jesse put a new radiator in his car. weaver gets kudos for being nice.)

i might look for a used car once i get health insurance and feel a little more comfortable cutting deep into savings. i'm really uncomfortable with debt... i like to keep my finances simple. income less than or equal to spending.

in the meantime, though, the bus.

the bus actually isn't so bad. i've got the commute to work figured out so that it's actually less of a pain than before... i get there early, i can sleep most of the way. evenings are less reliable, but again i can sleep or read or do whatever. mostly, it's just the extracurriculars that are difficult. wanting to stay out late to dance or go to a club meeting or whatever.

i'm having to ask for a lot of help. this week, i'm supposed to be DJing a dance on monday in virginia beach, teaching on wednesday in norfolk, and DJing again in williamsburg on thursday. that's three different rides.

on the one hand, i'd like to stick with public transit, even once i can afford to do otherwise again. it's one of those things where more people using it makes it possible to finance improvements to the system, and i feel like i should put my money where my mouth is. and i CAN largely find an adequate amount of personal freedom within the strictures of living by bus schedule.

on the other, i'm scared of turning into a mooche. i offer gas money, but still.

the world feels a lot more spread out when you're forced to go slower. on weekends, i've been using my feet or the bicycle for anything under about five miles. there's a lot in that range... still, simply going to walgreens, picking out a route that won't involve encountering heavy traffic, becomes a bit of an adventure.

my horizons are shrinking. i can't just casually run up to costco in newport news to grab a gallon of milk, or over to a friend's house 15 miles away to practice dance for an hour. taking objects along requires more consideration, too -- i find myself avoiding groceries that contain unnecessary amounts of water, because they'll make my backpack heavier. longer travel depends more heavily on whether anyone else is going that way or if i can justify buying a plane ticket.

but there's richness in getting to know what's around me. i went to the hampton museum of history for museum day last weekend. it's been 400 years since the english settled here, and there were kecoughtan indians before that. i found a WPA Guide to Virginia that includes information about what it was like here back in 1939... i like superimposing, imagining the past form of places as i wander around.

interacting more with strangers is kinda neat, too -- in a car, you're isolated from the world. the bus, if it gets stuck in traffic, people start trading stories. i'm getting to know the people who regularly travel the same directions i do, if not by name, at least by face... somehow, having a few people who smile at you in recognition every morning helps a lot, makes it feel safer, gives you someone to share the mirth with when something unusual does happen.

but anyway. i should get my bicycle out before the sun sets!