March 26, 2011

I'm in the mood for classic Big Band music

Day 85 of Vintage 365


During the wee hours of the morning last Saturday, as I was flipping through the channels, I just happened to land on a PBS special called "The Big Band Years" precisely as it was starting. Naturally I was hooked by the name alone (which promised - and delivered - a trove of vintage swing music history), but that was just the tip of a delightful foray into some of the finest music of the mid-twentieth century (and in my opinion, of all time).

A quick Google search reveals that this PBS special isn't brand new (one source I found says it first aired in 2009), yet it was completely fresh to me and proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours.

Bursting with clips from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s (many of which came from classic movies) of big bands legends such as Glenn Miller (complete with Tex Beneke), Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, and Artie Shaw, this show had me simultaneously tapping my toe and pining for the dresses worn by every single female singer or actress they showed (such as the ever-beautiful Marion Hutton singing "I've got a gal in Kalamazoo").

Aside from just providing some stellar late night entertainment and starting my weekend off a very lovely note (literally!), this great PBS special reminded me of just how much I adore Big Band music - and that I really needed to add more of it to my playlist.

From Cab Callaway's wildly engaging  Minnie the Moocher (see video above for this intensely lively tune) to Glenn Miller's timeless jewel In the Mood (the inspiration behind the title of today's post), this terrific PBS show rekindled a passion I'd never really lost, but hadn't exactly been stoking lately either.

As we coast our way into spring and summer, two seasons that positively explode with energy and the urge to slip one your dancing shoes, I'll be putting an array of stellar Big Band classics into heavy rotation - and definitely recommend doing the same, if this great genre is your musical cup of tea, too! :)


  1. oooh this is great. i want to roll my hair up and do some swing outs immediately! too bad i'm ill aswell.
    thanks for sharing and brightening my day!

  2. This makes me want to get all dressed up and dance!

  3. Oh, Jessica, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Big Band music. It's my genre of choice, just slightly (teeny weeny bit) ahead of Frank Sinatra's mellow sounds.

    My all-time favorite song (Big Band or otherwise) is "Moonlight Serenade," but I also really LOVE "In the Mood," so I totally loved that particular video. I could almost imagine I was back in a little 1940's night club (with Gary Cooper by my side!!).

    I clean house and wash the dishes to Glenn Miller, and I'm usually swinging my hips all the while.

    Thanks for a lovely post.

    Hugs to you,