Duane Keilstrup Broadcast Archives
January, 2018

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This Week's Classics & Curios Show:

"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"

Episode 285


Time for some joyful jazz from Downbeat shows on the Armed Forces Radio Service. Jack Teagarden kicks off this set with "If I Could Be With You," featuring Bobby Hackett on trumpet. A highlight is Benny Goodman's "Farewell Blues" from 1935, and Frances Wayne performs "Lover Man," perhaps in anticipation of her future marriage to Neal Hefti while both were with Woody Herman's band.

Woody Herman follows with another "easy breezy" Downbeat show featuring "Perdido," Neal Hefti's "Apple Honey," "Noah," "Half Past Jumpin' Time," " Golden Wedding," and " Four or Five Times." Frances Wayne sings the "oldie" "Always" and "Two Again."

Finally, and my personal favorite this time around, is a Downbeat show with the great Red Nichols. Red delivers "Pennies from Heaven," "Love Me or Leave Me," "Blue Jay," "Naughty Waltz," "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," and "Camptown Races." Red honors some past Nichols' side men such as Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Jimmy Dorsey, Jack Teagarden, Arthur Schutt, Will Bradley, and Miff Mole from bands known by such titles as Miff Mole and His Little Molers, The Six Hottentots, Red Nichols' Stompers, and The Charleston Chasers.

Red was influenced by Bix Beiderbecke and played generally in Bix's style, but Red was thought to be more talented. And Red's cornet style was more relaxed and less aggressive than, say, Harry James or Bunny Berigan, and his band was a mixture of the bands of Bob Crosby and Will Bradley. His theme was "Wailing to the Four Winds."

The Downbeat show featured contemporary American jazz and, of course, derived its name from the venerable jazz magazine of the same name. Here's an interesting clip from “downbeat.com” about the era when jazz was losing popularity:

"In the late '40s, jazz seemed to be losing its cohesion. As the big band era ebbed and swing stars were dismissed as 'has-beens', tradition and modernism fought for the privilege of defining jazz. Even the word "jazz" seemed curiously passé to some. So in July 1949 DownBeat took it upon itself to announce a contest for the best word to replace "jazz." The magazine offered to pay $1,000 in cash to the person "who coins a new word to describe the music from dixieland through bop," the headline said. Second and third prizes included the services of Charlie Barnet's orchestra and the Nat Cole Trio for one night in one's home … In November came the word that the panel of judges deemed preferable to jazz: crewcut. Other alternatives included jarb, freestyle, mesmerrhythm, bix-e-bop, blip, schmoosic, and other equally contrived specimens."

So enjoy some fine American “blip” or “mesmerrhythm,” or, my favorite, "schmoosic.". .