tss-ggOur broad topic in the 2016 PopCult Gift Guide today is music for fans of The Swing Shift, the weekly Swing Music show on The AIR hosted by yours truly that nobody listens to. You can hear a ten-hour marathon today starting at 3 PM on The AIR, which you can pick up on this neat little embedded player.

For the Swing Music lover on your holiday shopping list we have a cool collection of music and books about the Big Band era.

boop-a-dooFirst up, we have the new album by swing revialists, The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, The Boop-A-Doo. The Boop-A-Doo is the 2nd in the band’s trilogy of recordings that showcase their swing influences. The Boop-A-Doo documents: The Roaring 20’s, the Weimar Republic in Germany, The Great Depression, Pre-Code Hollywood film, Art Deco and Cotton Club Hot Jazz.

The band approached it as if we were recording directly onto a wax cylinder- they kept all the sounds hard and sharp. It was a very different than the lush “tape compression and reverb” approach the CPD used in volume 1 of this series –Please Return the Evening- CPD Salutes the Music of the Rat Pack.

Cherry Poppin’ Dadies used vintage era drum kits and the banjo for their chordal instrument. Bandleader and vocalist, Steve Perry, chose songs that combine lyrical and musical sophistication with edgy subject matter.

The Boop-A-Doo is great instrumental music and vocal music at the same time… and of course great songs arranged in a way that’s fun to dance to. You can order The Boop-A-Doo directly from the band’s website, and check out their other recordings and T-shirts while you’re at it.

71vpylguial-_sl1050_Next we have Let It Swing, the latest release from Italian retro-swing act, Sugarpie & the Candy Men. Sugarpie & the Candymen began in 2008, when five musicians from Piacenza and Cremona – small towns in Northern Italy – decided to share their passion for swing, manouche jazz, blues, soul, pop, and vocal close harmonies.

The band is made up of singer Miss Sugarpie, aka Lara Ferrari, and her Candymen: Jacopo Delfini (gypsy guitar and harmonies), Renato Podestà (electric guitar, banjo and harmonies), Roberto Lupo (drums) and Claudio Ottaviano (double bass).  Rather than devote all their time to recreating classic swing numbers, they instead apply the swing aesthetic equaly to songs by Led Zeppelin and Django Reinhardt, The Beatles and Bessie Smith, Van Halen and Benny Goodman, Guns ‘n’ Roses and Ray Charles, Queen and Peggy Lee and so on.

The band’s 4th album Let it Swing is a tribute to the Beatles in a progressive-swing way.You can pick up an import from Amazon, or just listen to the full album on YouTube. Either way, it’s great for the Swing Music fan who also enjoys the Fab Four.

51r2pqrdfslWoody Herman 6 Classic Albums is a budget release that collects six classic Woody Herman albums on four discs for less than fifteen bucks. This set collects six original albums, including “Songs For Hip Lovers”, “The Herd Rides Again”, “Men From Mars”, “At The Roundtable”, “The Fourth Herd” and “Swing Low, Sweet Clarinet,” and it will be back in stock November 26 from Amazon, where it’s currently priced at $12.49…a little more than two bucks per album.

Herman was one of the great bandleaders, and he evolved beyond mainstream Big Band Swing and continued to grow musically up until his death in the mid 1980s. This set is a great way to catch up to a true master of the form.

If you want to read all about the Swing, here’s a couple of great books:

Benny Goodman’s Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert
51frltplfql-_sy344_bo1204203200_by Catherine Tackley
Oxford University Press

On January 16, 1938 Benny Goodman brought his swing orchestra to America’s venerated home of European classical music, Carnegie Hall. The resulting concert – widely considered one of the most significant events in American music history – helped to usher jazz and swing music into the American cultural mainstream. This reputation has been perpetuated by Columbia Records’ 1950 release of the concert on LP. Now, in Benny Goodman’s Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert, jazz scholar and musician Catherine Tackley provides the first in depth, scholarly study of this seminal concert and recording.

Combining rigorous documentary and archival research with close analysis of the recording, Tackley strips back the accumulated layers of interpretation and meaning to assess the performance in its original context, and explore what the material has come to represent in its recorded form. Taking a complete view of the concert, she examines the rich cultural setting in which it took place, and analyzes the compositions, arrangements and performances themselves, before discussing the immediate reception, and lasting legacy and impact of this storied event and album. As the definitive study of one of the most important recordings of the twentieth-century, Benny Goodman’s Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert is a must-read for all serious jazz fans, musicians and scholars.

You can order this book locally using the ISBN number above, or seek it out at the Barnes & Noble website.

Stan Kenton: This Is an Orchestra!
press333by Michael Sparke
University of North Texas Press
ISBN-13: 9781574413250

Stan Kenton (1911–1979) formed his first full orchestra in 1940 and soon drew record-breaking crowds to hear and dance to his exciting sound. He continued to tour and record unrelentingly for the next four decades. Stan Kenton: This Is an Orchestra! sums up the mesmerizing bandleader at the height of his powers, arms waving energetically, his face a study of concentration as he cajoled, coaxed, strained, and obtained the last ounce of energy from every musician under his control.

Michael Sparke’s narrative captures that enthusiasm in words: a lucid account of the evolution of the Kenton Sound, and the first book to offer a critical evaluation of the role that Stan played in its creation. Insightful and thought-provoking throughout, and supported by liberal quotes from the musicians who made the magic, even at his most contentious the author’s high regard and admiration for his subject shines through. The most knowledgeable of Stan’s fans will learn new facts from this far-reaching biography of a man and his music. Stan Kenton will be essential reading for every Kenton devotee and jazz historian.

You can order this book locally using the ISBN number above, or seek it out at the Barnes & Noble website.

Of course, you can find loads more Swing gifts online. If Swing Dancing is your bag, let me point you toward Vintage Dancer, a great clearinghouse with links to all sorts of vintage clothing websites.

Check back tomorrow for more of The 2016 PopCult Gift Guide.