The Top 100 Artists of All Time, Artists 70-61. For further information as to how the list was created, please click here.
70. Oscar Aleman
Singer, Dancer, guitarist, entertainer, and superb showman. Aleman, born in Buenos Aires, was singing and dancing from age 6. Mostly recording songs with little to no swing dance interest, however, there is a fabulous 2 CD collection of his works from 1938 – 1957 with 53 tracks of the most swingin guitar this side of Django. Favorite Tracks: Beseme Mucho and Tiger Rag.
69. Pee Wee Russell
There are some artists that I have a hard time classifying their music. Pee Wee Russell is one of those artists. Is it straight swing? Dixieland? Trad? New Orleans Swing? I’m sure there are folks out there who know exactly how you would classify his sound. Personally, I prefer to keep the ambiguity of it. Any way you slice it, I Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None Of My Jelly Roll and Mama’s In The Groove are both kick ass tracks to dance to.
68. Luis Russell
At ABW one year, I had the pleasure of hanging out with Jonas Peterson from Sweden, and after he let me listen to At The Darktown Strutters Ball…I was hooked! That track swings so damn hard! It has this Fletcher Henderson quality about it that I really love. Not sure if it has to do with the fact that Louis Armstrong had taken over the band at the time of the recording, or some magic juju that Russel gave his band, either way you slice it, it swings! After you buy the 2 disc set 1929-1934, listen to Feelin’ The Spirit…awesome!
67. Gene Kardos
The Kardos theme song: Business In F. If you haven’t heard of that song yet, get out from under your rock, and watch a balboa competition, or ask your friendly neighborhood DJ to play it. Absolutely fabulous! Swingin! Hip! And Hot! And who doesn’t like a song that you can sing along to? Thanks to Cleveland DJ, Mary Ann Carrothers for this fabulous find.
66. Roy Eldridge
Roy ‘Little Jazz’ Eldgridge was a jazz trumpet player who was anything but little on the horn. Working with such greats as Ella Fitzgerald and Earl Hines, Eldridge typified the spirit of jazz. Nowhere else is this evident than the time he spent working with Gene Krupa. Paired with Anita O’Day and Krupa, Eldridge recorded great dance tracks such as Let Me Off Uptown and Watch The Birdie. Those tracks you know, but check out ‘Fish Market’…wwwhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaa
65. Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith
The father of stride piano and a piano player you would never want to get into a cut contest with, cuz, duh, you’d get cut! I have yet to find any footage of The Lion without a cigar and his pork pie hat. Duke Ellington once said of The Lion “[he] was the greatest influence of all the great jazz piano players who have come along. He has a beat that stays in the mind.” Favorite Track: Harlem Joys.
64. Red Norvo
Red Norvo (along with Hampton) helped make the vibes (vibraphone), one of the most swinginist instruments around! If you are a Fitzgerald/Webb fan, be sure to check out his arrangement of A Tisket! A Tasket! And not to miss, his arrangement of Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie (and no, its not at the standard kick your ass tempo)
63. Ella Mae Morse
Originally hired at age 14 by Jimmy Dorsey (Dorsey thought she was 19), Ella Mae Morse has several hits played at dance venues around the county. The Capitol Collector Series has over 10 playable tracks spanning her illustrious carreer including: Milkman Keep Those Bottle Quiet, Cow Cow Boogie, 40 Cups of Coffee, Shoo Shoo Baby and Mr. Five by Five. Unoffically, The House of Blue Lights has to be the earliest recording I have of a singer using the word Homey!
62. Ray Anthony
Not known for his catalog of swingin tracks, as opposed to his “classic dance songs” like The Bunny Hop and The Hokey Pokey. But there are a few gems that this one time Glenn Miller member has recorded, my favorite: The Fox. One of the best compilation CD’s of all time is/was Oscillatin Rhythm. Out of print now, but if you can get your hands on a copy, buy it without hesitation. Because on that CD, you will find the best version of The Fox you have ever heard.
61. Woody Herman
Woody Herman is one of those bands that I wish I could love more than one song. His is a prolific band leader, and was known for being “The Big Band that Plays The Blues.” But despite this moniker, I just can’t get into many Herman tracks. I find myself limited to At The Woodchoppers Ball (a perennial favorite of dancers), Herman at the Sherman, and The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (a much improved version over the Andrews Sisters). His placement on this list transcends my personal favor for Herman and acknowledges his popularity and success outside of my personal taste.
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