My reviews for music released in 1936.
1. Anton Webern: “Variations for Piano” Op. 27 (10/10)
A major serialist set of variations, perhaps the major piano variations of serialism (I really don’t know). This is one of those pieces I wish I could write about better. I should listen to it again.
2. Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra: “Jim Town Blues” (9/10)
“Jim Town Blues” just jumps right into the big band thing, but sounds more sophisticated (and less obviously “swing”) than some of their other tracks from this period. It sounds like there is a clear desire to move beyond swing to something else.
Eldridge (or whoever) is still pretty traditional, but the arrangement does feel progressive.
3. Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra: “Grand Terrace Swing” (9/10)
“Grand Terrace Swing” is another class swing song wherein all the conventions are internalized to the point where it’s hard to tell whether the band is moving forward or treading water. (Though the style would be popular for years after this.) On my god, a piano solo. That’s like the fifth one in this collection or something.
4. Memphis Minnie: “I’m a Bad Luck Woman” (9/10)
This one’s got a really engaging lead part with a some foot stomping and a typically great vocal from Minnie.
5. Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra: “Stealin’ Apples” (8/10)
“Stealin’ Apples” is actually drive by piano, like “Happy Feet”, and we are again left wondering what happened to the band.
This is actually kind of forward thinking though, as when Chu Berry (or whoever it is) comes in, the band is still missing. It’s basically dixieland though, not proto-bop. It’s about 2 minutes in before it sounds like big band.
6. Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra: “Christopher Columbus” (8/10)
“Christopher Columbus” feels like a song we should hear in a swing film. It’s a little older than it sounds, apparently. The band playing is more interesting. The solos feel a little dated.
7. Memphis Minnie: “Hoodoo Lady” (8/10)
A typically strong vocal with a plodding rhythm (not sure if that’s from Minnie or her husband). Pretty good for its era.
Benny Carter and His Orchestra: “Gin and Jive”
I haven’t listened to this in a while and didn’t record an individual rating for it. One to revisit.
Benny Carter and His Orchestra: “There’s a Small Hotel”
Benny Carter and His Swing Quartet Featuring Elizabeth Welch: “When Lights Are Low”
Tommy Dorsey’s Clambake 7: “At the Codfish Ball” (??/10)