S * U * M * M * E * R V * A * C * A * T * I * O * N
See You In September!
This week I had help from Jerry Leyendecker in putting this "Big Bands" Turntable together. Jerry has a much closer connection to this music than I. Here's a comment from Jerry . . . .
"Harv . . . You've got a good representation of the "Big Bands" of the 1940s. Stuff we were all hearing before we actually started paying attention. Thanks to mom and dad we heard this stuff until the mid-1950s when things changed to smaller groups and rock & roll, and within the next decade, it all disappeared from popular view and by the time the "Beatles" invaded in '64, it was virtually all over, and it's been down hill ever since. High schools and colleges are keeping the "swing band" style alive, but it's like Bach and Beethoven... ancient but really good. Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra in NYC are doing a very good job of trying to re-invigorate it, but it's an uphill battle against the commercial forces thundering onto the airwaves... sorta like you and your TT! It's "steak vs. wieners", as you so aptly put it once."
Professional Big Bands, popular in the 40's, are fading in the 2000's.
A standard 17-piece instrumentation evolved in the big bands. This instrumentation consists of five saxophones (most often two altos, two tenors, and one baritone), four trumpets, four trombones(often including one bass trombone) and a four-piece rhythm section (composed of drums, acoustic bass or electric bass, piano and guitar).However, variants to this instrumentation are common. Composers, arrangers, and bandleaders have used sections with more or fewer players, and additional instruments, such as valve trombone, baritone horn/euphonium (both of which are usually used in place of or with trombones), vibes, bass clarinet, French horn, tuba, banjo, accordion and strings (violin, viola, cello). Male and female vocalists have also joined big bands to perform particular arrangements. In recent years synthesizers and / or electronic keyboards have been added, often replacing the piano.
Some arrangements call for saxophone players to double on other woodwind instruments, such as flute, clarinet, soprano sax, or bass clarinet. Trumpet and trombone players are sometimes called upon to use various sound-changing mutes, and trumpet players sometimes need to play flugelhorn. In some rhythm sections, a Guitar player is omitted. Players in the rhythm section may be called upon to play acoustic or electric instruments. Latin or other auxiliary percussion instruments may be added, such as cowbells, congas, tambourines, or triangles. "Thanks WIKI"
The most popular "Big Bands" of the past are most certainly recognizable. Look at the list below. Is there whose name you don't know?
Thank you Jerry Leyendecker for suggesting the following selections!
Big bands (17-18 piece ensembles) are here to stay, not so much in the professional ranks (very few professional big bands exist), but in America's schools.
Until Next Week
Since I didn't hear comments on last weeks turntable, I don't know if the music was a "turn off" or if everyone was just in the pool! I'm attempting to bring us up to date with some of the popular music currently in circulation (the stuff our grandchildren are listening to). Do you want the new stuff tossed in when I find something? Let me know!
Do you know what your grandkids are listening to?
That question came clear to me this weekend during our 4th of July celebration. The question came from Grandchildren. Not mine. They belonged to Nancie Kieweg. Nancy Niemann (the name you might be familiar with), lived across the street from me on Lindbergh Drive in Manitowoc. She was one year ahead of us in HS and dated Vic Schiegg. I married Joan, Nancie's cousin. That's why we still get together. Her dad, Joan's Uncle Kenny, turned 100 on the 4th of July. So we had a party - at her family home on Lindbergh Drive. We've been getting together for several years . . . Kenny at 95, 96, etc. and for the last couple of years I brought music. An Ipod and Bose portable speaker. I'd play all the oldies and pretty much everyone enjoyed the music. Well almost everyone. This year, because of the Turntable's "Do you know what your Grandchildren are listening to", I decided to do some research and update my Ipod with some "relevant " music! Relevant to those grandkids of 14 to 16 years of age. So when the question was asked by little Allie (Nancie's granddaughter 15) do you have some of OUR MUSIC? I was happy to say yes! "I think so".
Previewing the top 10 songs for years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 I picked the songs I liked best! Not as easy as it sounds, some of the music was really good but the lyrics were BAD! and I mean REALLY BAD! This I discovered by playing the music "with lyrics displayed" on youtube. After carefully previewing the songs, I found some real gems! I liked some of them so well that they replaced selections I had already chosen for last weeks Turntable. I knew I liked the music, but how about the kids?
As soon as that selection started playing I had my answer! The grandkids loved it! They sang right along with the music. I gotta say it was pretty special. I'm glad I took the time to find the music for those teenagers . . . and so were they! Something else I discovered was that their parents also had music they preferred. Kyle, Allie's Uncle couldn't wait to mount his cellphone on the speaker and play his new favorite song. He couldn't stop laughing telling us it was about a guy who went to his girlfriends house to ask her dad for permission to marry her . . . her Dad said NO! Let's just say this guy is persistent!
So what else did I discover? Well not all the Billboard top 10 songs are suitable for playing in public. I previewed each song in youtube.com using the "lyrics" version. Most times you could not decipher what was being said while listening to the song. The music was good but when you actually saw the words on the screen!!! Lots of songs never made the cut! I could play "one of those" for you, but I'd prefer not to do that. I'd rather play something I really liked. By the way I don't consider myself a "Country" fan. At least not until now. The best songs in the top 10 each year for the last couple of years seem to be Country. Interestingly, if you listen to our old "Pop" songs, many of them were kinda like Country anyway! This one is my current favorite!
You'll be hearing more "New Music" on the Turntable in the future. We need to learn this stuff . . . for the Grandkids!
Hope the rest of your summer is "Beachin!"!
Till Next Week
(As we sit on the pier next to the lighthouse, Karen has speculated that "someone" choreographed our evening out. She suggested that "one of us" is writing the script. We have yet to discover who that person might be. Or, if indeed, the evening has truly been choreographed. Karen has craftily ruled herself out as a suspect in a rather unorthodox manner. Still unsure that anything is afoot, but suspicious, we leave the lighthouse behind and start our trek back to the beach.)
Lovey - "Dick! what did you just say about the road?" Dick "I said "talk about 40 miles of bad road!" Lovey - "And what was the name of that instrumental that played right after you said that?" Dick - "It was "40 miles of bad Road!" Man! how creepy is that! Lovey -
"S H I T !!!! Dick - " Oh its you that has turrets then?" Lovey - NO! I'm just ruling myself out as the author of this evenings activity! It looks like this "EVENT" is still going strong. Each time we mention a song it plays on the radio. Karen - Well everybody "It's Late" so we should be getting on home! Lovey - "Karen I'm still having fun! What's the rush?" Karen - "I'm just testing the system. If I'm correct, I know what song will be played next. It involves Ricky Nelson!" Dick - Ooop's Karen, looks like you messed up! It's not Ricky Nelson! But WOW what a great song. Look, down on the beach! Everyone around the bonfire is yelling at us to turn the music up!
(By the time the song was in the second stanza everyone at the bonfire was singing along to this song that, interestingly, no one had ever heard before!)
Me - "Well at it wasn't Ricky Nelson! Maybe the spell is finally broken and we can just relax and enjoy the rest of the evening!" Karen - "Don't be so sure Harv. I still feel something is not right. For example; How is that group on the beach getting away with lighting a bonfire? Bonfires are strictly prohibited on the beach in this area! Cops should be all over them by now!" Me - "Hey! those guys ahead at the bonfire, - I think we know them - I'm sure I heard Bob Ohlhues laugh. That guy has the worlds heartiest laugh!" Lovey - "Listen to this song! I bet its a new release. At least I've never heard it before! Hey Karen how about writing the titles down on something so we can play them again next week!" Karen - "Ok! Ahhh . . How did you know I would have paper and a pencil?" Lovey - "You're a writer for the flash right? Good reporters always have something to write on!" Karen - "Well this song is really terrific and, even better, it has no connection to anything we've just done!
(We have now come close enough to see the kids at the bonfire. They're all fromManitowoc)
Me - "Look there's Bob Ohlhues! He's with Sharon Heise. I can see Torr, Dan Hoffman, Kenny Chermak, Bill Ohde, Dick Neuses, Jerry Leyendecker, Karen Duenkel, Tom Westover, Judy Gauthier, Bob Warrens, Bill Wojta with Jane, Pete Christensen with Barb, Nick Nitka with Barb Groll, Ron Balzan, Mary Walters, WOW!" Karen - Hey there's Barb Meany and Chuck Erickson! We work on the paper together! I'm going to talk to Barb . . be right back! Lovey - There's Jean Behringer - Be right back!" Dick - What the hell! The whole school is here! Why weren't we invited???? Me - "Well, were here! That's all that matters! Hey Oily! what's going on?? Bob Ohlhues - Nuthin Harv! Everyone left the dance and ended up at the M&M or the Custard stand. We all agreed to come down here and start a fire. Me - Well, where's the beer? Bob - I brought Sharon instead! Me - Wise choice! Bob - Hey Harv - where did you guys get that radio . . and what station are you playing?? Me - The radio belongs to Dick'o and the station is WTLZ! Bob - I've never heard of that station before. I'll have to check it out. What I really want to know is how you guys are able to broadcast music to the entire beach from that little portable radio? We can hear it just a clear as a bell! Me - Heck! I don't know. I guess it is just the right atmospheric condition.Bob - That might explain the sound traveling but what about the music? I've never heard the songs you guys are playing. They're are great!!! Dick- Hey guys! Listen to this one! This is really different . . . I like it!
Lovey - "Harv what time is it? Me - Well I haven't checked but I would guess that since we left the M&M at 10:20 that it's about 11:45. Right? Lovey - Nope! It's 9:15! Me -What?how can that be? We left the dance at 9:15 Lovey - I know!. . . I'm as surprised as you! I checked my watch a little while ago and it said 9:15. I thought it might have stopped but the second hand was working just fine. So I asked a couple of kids and got the same answer 9:15! Really weird don't you think? Dick - Well if it's only 9:15, what's the rush to get home??? Karen - Leave it to Dick to put a positive twist on this!
(So we stayed 2 more hours. I must say, we had a blast. We must have burned through 2 cords of wood on the beach. The police never came! Everyone was really charged. The music on Dick's radio was stuff nobody ever heard before! Dick'o kept getting offers from guys wanting to buy his radio. We must have given 20 people the call letters of the station! Karen wrote every song title down for additional research. Still 9:15PM)
Lovey - "Man the music just keeps getting better. This station must be from California or something. All the new stuff comes out there first. I don't know how we're getting the it, but it's the greatest! Oh listen to this one! I hear Warrens calling from behind "Hey that's a really cool song . . . turn it up!
(Now everyone seemed to be ready to call it a night. We're headed for the car )
Bob Ohlhues yells over to Dick - Hey Dick'o! I'll give you $35 for that radio! Last Offer!!! Then Tom Westover yells . . $50 Dick'o and I'll throw in my book "how to win friends and Influence people!" Finally Bob Warrens. Dick'o . . . $50 and I'll introduce you to George! . . . Dick - Hey Harv. Who the heck is George! Me - Never met him Dick, but trust me, that intro is worth a lot more more than the $50!!!
(So everyone jumps in their cars and exits the beach in a cloud of dust. Interestingly, as we start the car and begin our exit, the air is suddenly perfectly clear and there is no sign of anyone. No cars, no dust, no tail lights exiting ahead of us. . . . Nothing . . . . And then)
Lovey - HEY!!! check your watches. One minute ago it was 9:15 and now my watch says 1:55AM!!!! My parents are going to kill me!!! Karen - My watch says 1:55AM too!!! Jesus what happened? Dick - Look I'm in just as much trouble as you guys are! Whatever happened tonight happened to all of us! I just don't know how! Look! Even the car radio is stuck on WTLZ! Nothing else comes in! Well, we have about 15 minutes before we get home to think up alibis! Any Ideas???
(We dropped the girls off wishing them the best of luck. No alibis we could think of could explain what happened. Do we all tell the truth? Would our parents understand? And now Dick drops me off. We just look at each other with blank expressions!)
Me - Well, good luck Dick. I know your parents are very strict. If I had ONE good idea for a believable excuse I'd tell you. I think were screwed! Dick - Do you believe the night was choreographed like Karen said? Me - I don't know but I'm beginning to suspect something is going on. I can only say I'm not doing it! (of course my fingers are crossed behind my back) Dick - Well, I'll see you in school tomorro
(As Dick drives off a really terrific song plays on his car radio. Now I hear him yell at the top of his lungs . . . S H I T!!! . . . . . . Sorry Dick . . . that WAS in the script and I already know it wasn't you doing the writing! Oh, the song playing on your radio? It won't be released for 55 years (2014 to be exact). Good luck to Karen and Lovey finding the music played tonight. None of those songs will be released for at least another 10 years. Oh Yeah, the bonfire? It never happened! WTLZ? There's a station in Michigan with those call letters . . . but that wasn't the station we were listening to! As for me? I never dated Lovey. Although, if I had, I would have taken her to the lighthouse. . . . Interesting place that lighthouse! )
"Expleo Explevi Expletum"
Till Next Week
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