Here’s the opening chorus of Johnny Hodges’ soulful and commanding “Sunny Side of the Street” from Duke Ellington’s 1963 The Great Paris Concert record. This song, which often leans toward sweetness and sentimentality, is anything but either of those in this recording. I also love how he really sets up space for the backbeat here – he urges it’s response… so much that if you listen closely you can hear someone in the background seemingly uncontrollably grunt and clap to fill in that beat at one point – a quality I’ve appreciated about while admiring the dancing of some of the elder Harlem swing dancers.

My dad gave me this record from his vinyl collection, so it holds an extra something for me.

You can see me playing it on my Instagram post. Transcription is below.

Johnny Hodges Sunny Side Of The Street transcription

Here’s a chorus of Velma Middleton & Louis Armstrong’s Honeysuckle Rose as played by the great Arvell Shaw in 1955. Arvell played with Louis from the late 40’s and through the 50’s – during the iconic All Star Band era, and he is a big part of that band’s powerful, buoyant drive.

What a great feel he had. No nonsense.

Also, this record, “Louis Plays Fats” is a must – if you aren’t already hip to it.

You can see me playing it on my Instagram post. Transcription is below.

Arvell Shaw's Bass in Honeysuckle Rose transcription

This is a first installment of doing a quick recap of tunes used and video clips referenced in a weekend workshop. I’ve been doing it on Facebook for a few years, but I’d rather it be here because Facebook is no good.

It’s nice to head back to DC, where I lived for 8 years and really grew as a dancer. It’s killer to get to dance at the gorgeous Glen Echo Park. Thanks to Capital City Swingout for bringing Mia Goldmsith Halloran and I out for the second year.

First, the clips, the originals that gave us this dance…

Video Clips

After Seben 1929

Chick Webb’s band plays Sweet Sue and a band of killer 1st generation Lindy Hoppers, include Shorty George Snowden, show us how they showed off at that time. Upright, two-stepping, asymmetrical, rhythmic, jagged, stylish, lovely.

The name, as well as some of the imagery in the short (including the announcer, a white actor in blackface), illustrate some of the racist tropes that performers at the time had to endure while showcasing their talent – no doubt these conditions and tropes influenced the formation of these dances that we love. A product of the time which endures to this day.

Norma Miller and Frankie Manning “Swing Walk / Peabody”

While we had everyone two-stepping the ballroom, Mia mentioned the Frankie would say everyone who danced knew at least a Waltz and Foxtrot. Here’s a video of the great Norma and Frankie demonstrating the “Swing Walk”, their version of the Peabody. While not the dance we taught, it shows them stylishly demonstrating this traveling dance.

The Harlem Renaissance Documentary

I referred to this incredibly robust explosion of African American artistic, political and cultural revolution in Harlem. Lindy Hop is product of the tail end of the Harlem Renaissance. I found this documentary that you might be enlightening. The video cuts off early, but it was the best thing I found on Youtube today.

George Lloyd & Margaret Batiuchok

Here is a great clip of greatest inspirations dancing with the great Margaret Batiuchok.


Anne Johnson is in no rush to come in when she swings out with Frankie in this clip. I cued the clip to them swinging out, but, you should watch this whole thing.

Music We Used

Here’s a playlist of some of the tunes we used in class.I’m sure many are missing, but these are the ones fresh in my brain:

Here’s a link to the playlist on Apple Music:

I love this song. I’ve used it in my dance classes for years. I has the nicest feel, and of course it would… the rhythm section is Basie’s rhythm section. This solo is a masterful, bluesy lesson.

Personnel in this recording:

Charlie Christian (guitar) Freddie Green (guitar) Count Basie (piano) Buck Clayton (trumpet) Lester Young (t sax) Walter Page (bass) Jo Jones (drums)

Transcription of Buck Clayton's Solo in Charlie Christian's Ad Lib Blue

These recordings featuring Billie Holiday with Teddy Wilson’s bands are some of my favorites. This creepy song has a nice Memories of You vibe to it. It’s also exciting for me to hear the legendary Milt Hinton, Al Casey (of Fats Waller’s band) and Cozy Cole in a rhythm section together.

I couldn’t find sheet music for the tune anywhere, I approximated the melody from Billie’s vocals and the initial trumpet statement.

Personnel on this gem:

Bobby Hackett (clarinet) Trummy Young (bone) Toots Mondello, Ted Buckner (alto) Bud Freeman, Chu Berry (trumpets) Teddy Wilson (piano) Albert Casey (guitar) Milton Hinton (bass) Cozy Cole (drums) Billie Holiday (voc)