Hit That Beat is a section dedicated to music of a specific bpm (with a range of ± 6bpm). The articles focus on a specific bpm and showcase a variety of dance style preferences, song energies, and tempos; all the while featuring both classics and B-sides alike. **Keep in mind, this is MY bpm, your bpms may vary.
Now we’re groovin! 130bpm, some might call it a beginner level for tempo, or something to ease people into swing dancing, which I wouldn’t disagree with, BUT I would also add that anyone of any level can enjoy a good 130; Lindy Hop and Balboa alike! Yes, BALBOA! /gasp
Evenin’ – Jazz Vipers (Jazz Vipers) 125bpm
Once that guitar comes in, all thick and nasty, i’m in! I could mention the great singer, growly horns, and everything else you get in this track, but it’s the guitar that hooked me.
Satin Doll – Count Basie (any) 126bpm
A classic! It’s a shame I don’t hear it more often, so much going on. Even if you just danced to the piano, you could have the time of your life. But the ups and downs, really help keep your dance fresh and exciting, even at 126bpm.
I Can’t Give You Anything But Love – Benny Goodman Sextet (Sextet Featuring Charlie Christian) 125bpm
My absolute favorite version of this song is by Artie Shaw, but that song is clearly (228bpm) out tempo range. I just how the combination of the sweet sound and swinging rhythm to this arrangement. This is also a great version to give Charlie Christian a chance to shine.
St. Louis Blues, take-1 – Benny Goodman (The Birth of Swing 1935-36) 133bpm
Not that it matters what take you play, this song is great. I think what I love most about this song is the cross over it has for people who want to get groovy and get down, to those who want a classic swing song. The latin rhythm in this version lasts long enough to give flavor, but not too long as to loose you. This isn’t the only version of this song by Benny that is on a list for me, if you like one, you will love ’em all.
I Needs To Be With You – Count Basie 126bpm
You want sometin’ stanky and all sorts of funk? Then this song is for you. Classic Basie splankin’, the best rhythm section you could ask for, New Testament groove, with a healthy big band volume. This song is a whole wheel of stinky cheese, with those horns coming in after Basie, keeping that stank at full volume. Even when the band comes alive at the end, it’s like a good piece of roquefort: smooth and nasty all at the same time.
Fish Market – Gene Krupa (Anthology of Big Band Swing) 128bpm
I love the intro of this song, just as funky as the song above, with that big growlin’ brass, then immediately settling into something sweet. But don’t wait too long, once the band decides to join the party, those horns are back at something mean. I love it how the band carries that solo growl from the brass together as one unit to finish out the song. Perfect for some elongated, over rotated swing outs.
Smack Dab In The Middle – Count Basie (Live at Newport 1956) 126bpm
From quite possibly the best album Basie ever recorded comes this phenomenal track featuring the Basie Orchestra highlighting an amazing performance by Joe Williams. The song dynamics alone offer oodles of texture and play time for all levels of dancer. I have been dancing and djing this song since I started, and it still brings up a rooms energy and gets everyone going. While a classic and a tune familiar to many, it doesn’t get old. I’m going to keep playing this song, over and over and over and …..