As I DJ at scenes outside of my home scene with more regularity, I feel like I’m getting better at catering to different crowds. The Friday night scene in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, for instance, tends to draw a lot of community members and folks who are newer to jazz dancing, which is great! It’s fun to play music that will pick up the ear of folks who maybe don’t listen to much jazz, and yet still swings and inspires cool things for the more experienced dancers.
Renee Olstead’s version of “My Baby Just Cares for Me” has a robust bass line and some great stops that make it fun to move to, and I paired it with the modern sound of Joe Smith and the Spicy Pickles doing “My Rhythm.” To ease back into the classics, I bridged the gap with Dinah Washington’s “I Diddle,” a song so infectiously delightful I have to prevent myself from playing it in every set!
Another highlight here is “It’s Later Than You Think,” a song off of Joe Williams and Friends, June 1985: I Just Want To Sing, a recording that magically combines Joe Williams’ warm vocals with some outstanding trumpet playing from Thad Jones and tenor sax work from Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and Benny Golson. Jerry Peters on keys and Gerryck King on drums hold down the rhythm, and between the funny lyrics and the delightful beat, it’s almost impossible for me not to dance to “It’s Later Than You Think”!
I’m still playing with the songs from Pass the Bounce, the new album from the Brooks Prumo Orchestra, but “Jump Jack Jump” was a winner for me in this set. It brought some people to the floor who were working on their bal, and at 183 BPM, it’s fast enough to have fun while not intimidating new bal dancers. I also appreciate that it’s really easy to hear the beat, even during the brass and sax solos – so important for balboa!
I have another post coming soon about my first time DJing in Grand Rapids, and in that post I’ll be releasing some exciting news about where I’m DJing next – stay tuned!