The Top 100 Artists of All Time, Artists 80-79. For further information as to how the list was created, please click here.
80. Stan Kenton
Many have made the mistake of purchasing one of Kenton’s CDs entitled “Balboa Bash”. Don’t let the title fool you, there is nothing on there that you want to bal to. However, if you are looking for a delightful vocal featuring June Kristy on vocals (and the whole band!), check out “Tampico”.
79. Larry Clinton
Horn player Larry Clinton made most of his money, outside of recordings, from college proms and hotel ballrooms. But don’t let that fool you, Clinton recorded some of great swingin tracks: Zig Zag, Dipsy Doodle, and a rather tame, albeit interesting, version of Sugarfoot Stomp.
British dance bands of the 1920s and 1930s formed in dance halls and hotel ballrooms creating a unique style of swing jazz — a unique blend of popular American jazz and a ‘peculiar British sense of rhythm and style’. Ambrose and His Orchestra was one of those bands who I had stumbled on one day at my favorite record shop in Pasadena, CA (Canterbury Records). If you run across Ambrose, check out Cotton Pickers Congregation, Streamline Strut and Hide and Seek.
77. Don Ewell
The amount of amazing artists and music continues to astonish me. It was until a few months ago that I found Don Ewell, jazz pianist, and his upbeat and swingin version of Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me. Man that song is sweet!
76. Mary Lou Williams
Jazz pianist and composer, Mary Lou Williams wrote hundreds of compositions and arrangements, and event wrote some for the likes of Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. Williams found work with Andy Kirk, and wrote for his Twelve Clouds of Joy, such great songs as “Walking and Swingin” and Little Joe From Chicago.
75. Louis Prima
Yes, Louis Prima. Once you get past the Gap commercial of 1998, and Jump Jive and Wail (the bane of every swing dancers’ existence), Prima’s collection of music is fabulous. And let us forget that Prima did write the swing epic, Sing Sing Sing. If you aren’t into the later ‘Vegas Years’, check out Louis Prima’s New Orleans Gang. At The Darktown Strutters Ball and of course the original version of Sing Sing Sing are great samples of his early band (Pre Brian Setzer annoyance).
74. James P Johnson
Arguably one of the most important pioneers of stride piano. Teaching such piano pioneers as Fats Waller and Willie The Lion Smith. My Favorite Track: Walkin’ The Dog.
73. W.C. Handy
One of the most influential American songwriters in history. Handy, a blues player and composer, is credited for creating the contemporary form of the blues. My favorite song written by Handy, St. Louis Blues. I’m not sure there is a version of St. Louis Blues I don’t like.
72. Horace Henderson
Younger brother of bandleader, Fletcher Henderson, Horace was known mostly for his arrangements for such notable artists as Benny Goodman, the Casa Loma Orchestra, and Jimmie Lunceford. Horace is credited with writing Big John’s Special, Christopher Columbus, and Hot and Anxious, which later became In The Mood (also see Tar Paper Stomp); all three songs at the core of any swing dancers collection.
71. Albert Ammons
A boogie woogie piano player from the 30’s, Ammons boogie woogie really swings. Ammons, along with Peter Johnson, are credited with launching the Boogie Woogie craze with their appearance at Carnegie hall in 1938 for the Spirituals to Swing concert.
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