“Jumpin’ Jive” by Cab Calloway (1943)

10 09 2008

This is a two-fer:  Superb music with superhuman dancing.  Cab Calloway and his group were sort of the second house band for the legendary Cotton Club in Harlem, filling in for Duke Ellington’s band when they were on the road.  Not easy shoes to fill, by any standard.

But fill them he did, and he brought the house down.  Calloway just seems like a lightning rod for all that is happening sonically in that room, moving and shaking like a cat possessed.  Listen to his singing and watch his showmanship.  Brilliant.  The enthusiasm is contagious.  Anyone not tapping his foot or moving some part of his body should be checked for a pulse.

Some people want to grow up to be doctors or pilots, but I wanted to grow up to sit behind one of those little bandstand shields, belting out all this joy from my trumpet, or shouting out responses to Calloway in that “call and answer” style.

This clip is from a movie called “Stormy Weather,” and while it’s not such a great movie, it showcased a lot of terrific talent.  Like the Nicholas Brothers, the dancers who take over the floor.  Can you believe how good they are?  How wonderful would it be to so submerge yourself in music, that you could move your body like that?

Enjoy!  As Calloway sings:

“The jip-jam-jump is a jumpin’ jive

Makes you nine foot tall when you’re four foot five!”

Okay, a three-fer:  Joe Jackson, who is quite well-represented in our music collection, made a great album of old jazz/swing standards called “Jumpin’ Jive.”  He normally did smart post-punk rock back then, but his small ensemble of musicians (including Graham Maby, one of my favorite bass players) does a terrific job of covering this tune.  As you can see, he’s a fan of Calloway’s music as well:




2 responses

10 09 2008

fantastic video. I didn’t realize that Cab was second-string for Duke at the Cotton Club. noted.

thanks for posting!

19 02 2009
“Sunday Papers” by Joe Jackson (1979) « Music For My Daughter

[…] music so much, I’ll probably post more tracks by him (maybe you missed his version of “Jumpin’ Jive” I posted earlier?).  There’s a lot of great stuff to explore, which I definitely […]

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