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Rob & Dawn Shrewsbury, Orlando swing dance instructors

Recommend Swing Music

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Some of the most common questions we get deal with music. To help people in selecting music, we’ve created the following recommendations. Keep in mind there is a lot of great music out there, this is just to help you get started.

NOTE: This page is no longer being updated. Instead, we are now posting practice playlists with links so you can download the music on iTunes.

Music for beginners:

The question we get the most is “What CD should I get to practice to when learning?”. For beginners, the key thing to keep an eye out for is music with a slower tempo and a clear beat. Most swing CDs have a variety of tempos, so you’ll probably have to get a few CDs to get a good collection of music to start out to. With that in mind, we’ve put together a small list of CDs that contain a at least a few good songs for beginners.

Image Artist & Album Notes
Steve Lucky – Come Out Swingin’ Tempos range from slow to fast with some great slower learning tempos. We often use “Play it Cool” in our lessons.
Swing Session – The Swing Session A great range of tempos and some great music! Good for beginners to learn and grow with.
Indigo Swing – All Aboard Various tempos (slow to fast) with a solid beat. Some great mid-tempo songs!
Lavay Smith – One Hour Mama Solid rhythms that vary song to song. Lots of boogie woogie and blues. Awesome vocals!
Frank Sinatra & Count Basie – It Might as Well Be Swing Overall, good beginner tempos. A few on the too slow side and a few faster. Who could go wrong with greats like this?
Mora’s Modern Rhythmists – Mr. Rhythmist Goes To Town Probably the best CD out for good Shag and Balboa tempos! A bit fast if you are learning Lindy or basic swing. But overall some awesome music!
Various Artists – For Dancers Only: A Lindy Hop Compilation A collection of music for Lindy Hoppers.

Great music in general:

Another common question we get is “What’s some good swing music to get (in general)?”. It would take us forever to write down all the good music out there. Here is just a few to get you started. Happy browsing!

Image Artist & Album Notes
Kid Dutch and his Blusicians – Live An awesome jump blues band from right here in Orlando! Help support local bands and pick up a CD. Their CD is not for sale online yet, but you can get one at their local shows or via mail order.
Cab Calloway – Are You Hep to the Jive? Cab’s music is always fun! This is by far one of the best collections of his music.
Artie Shaw – King of the Clarinet 1938-39 Artie Shaw is a personal favorite of ours and this box set is an excellent collection of both his hits and rare recordings.
Artie Shaw – The Very Best of Artie Shaw Not up for the box set? This is an inexpensive CD to introduce you to Mr. Shaw.
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Mora’s Modern Rhythmists – Goblin Market Great for Shag and Bal!
Mora’s Modern Swingtet – 20th Century Closet Dean Mora’s “small band”… but still with the same big sound!
Bill Haley & His Comets – 20th Century Masters: The Best Of… If you are looking for danceable 50’s rock-n-roll, this is amongst the best!
Lavay Smith – Everybody’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Miss Thing Great vocals. Great band. If you ever have a chance to see them live, don’t miss out!
Count Basie – The Complete Decca Recordings: 1937 Basie’s band swung hard! This is a box set of some of his greats.
Count Basie – Ken Burns JAZZ Collection The non-box set collection of many of Basie’s hits.
Swing Session – Whispering Grass Another great jump blues release by a great band out of San Francisco.
Stompy Jones – Stompy Jones The band formerly known as “Swing Session”. New name, same great sound!
Louis Jordan & His Tympani Five – Box Set In my opinion, he is the king of jump blues! Fun songs that are fun to dance to. This 5 CD box set is as about a complete of a collection as you can get in one buy.
Louis Jordan – The Best of Louis Jordan This is a great inexpensive CD to introduce you to the music of Mr. Jordan. It has most of his hits on it.
George Gee – Swingin’ Away (Live) An solid big band from the New York area that plays in Basie style. This CD is dedicated to the great Lindy Hopper, Frankie Manning.
N/A Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five – Jammin’ the Blues A band local to the LA area. They have an authentic vintage sound. They know how to play for the dancers seeing some of their members are dancers. Lindy Hoppers should know vocalist Hilary Alexander as the founder of Camp Hollywood and the NJC.
N/A Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five – Crazy Rhythm The band’s second release and we’re looking forward to more!
Buddy Johnson – Walk ’em: Decca Sessions This is one of my favorite artists. Awesome stuff to dance too!
Benny Goodman – The Very Best of Benny Goodman Benny goodman is known as the king of swing. He was certainly very good. But did he top Artie Shaw?
N/A Will Bradley – Beat Me Daddy to a Boogie Woogie Beat Boogie woogie is awesome to dance to! Will Bradley features fun and lighthearted lyrics… often funny! Great rhythms.
Various Artists – Boogie Woogie Giants I’m serious… boogie woogie is awesome to dance to! This is a collection of music by some of the greats including Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, and Jimmy Yancey.
Squirrel Nut Zippers – Hot Great hot jazz band that unfortunately got lumped into the neo-swing fad of the late ’90s. Fun for Collegiate Shag!
Squirrel Nut Zippers – Perennial Favorites A follow up to their first release, this album is equally as good.
Ella Fitzgerald & Chick Webb – Sing Me a Swing Song This is Ella’s early days singing with the Chick Webb and his Orchestra. These are the songs you’d hear if you where dancing at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom in the mid to late ’30s.
Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Swings Lightly Smooth swing songs by one of the greatest vocalists of the swing era. Great for dancers of all levels!
Anita O’Day & Gene Krupa – Let Me Off Uptown A great combo of vocalist and bandleader and results in some great dance music.
Duke Heitger & His Swing Band – Rhythm Is Our Business This band has a classic swing sound with a dash of hot jazz. Many tunes on the faster side so it’s great for Shag, Bal, and fast Lindy. Some slower and mid tempos too. Good music!
N/A Blue Sky Five – Tin Goose Jump A band out of the DC area. This great album includes 10 originals written by bandleader Craig Gildner and fresh band arrangements of five standards.
Katharine Whalen – Katharine Whalen’s Jazz Squad Katharine’s voice is like a modern day Billie Holiday. One the CD, she sings some classic swing songs.
Lionel Hampton – The Lionel Hampton Story Xylophones do swing! …and are fun to dance to when backed by a good orchestra and the musical genius of Lionel Hampton!
Dean Martin – Dino: The Essential Dean Martin A little more on the lounge side of swing, but still lots of fun to dance to!
Frank Sinatra – Classic Sinatra Who doesn’t know this vocalist? This CD has some of his greats.

 

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“We've been swing dancing for years, and Rob and Dawn have always been the best resource for beginner and advanced dancers alike. Year after year they have kept swing dancing alive in Orlando by introducing this fun and classic style to the masses. Their dances are always a blast, not to mention good exercise.”

- "dothelindyhop" Posted to The A-List


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