When all the guys join in singing...only they're yelling it from the back of the band
December 14, 2009 10:34 PM   Subscribe

Okay what is the name of the kind of swing music where the band does call and response with the singer? Not the backup singers. The horn section.

So I was listening the other day to a favorite jazz song, Blue Skies

It occurred to me that what I like about it is the call and response with the regular guys in the band, the horn section, the rhythm guys. It's also what I like about a couple of Cab Calloway songs. Unfortunately, trying to find MORE songs like this based on "it's where the guys with the guitars yell back at Frank" isn't the walk in the park I thought it'd be

So my question is: is this a subgenre of Swing? If so, can you recommend some other examples I might like?
posted by rileyray3000 to Society & Culture (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I can't point you to more examples of this off the top of my head, but you've got the name of this type of jazz spot on. It's present not only in jazz but a lot of gospel music, and the fact that you're paying attention to the call and response of the musicians of the band amongst each other and not between the band and the singer (though your initial question was a little confusing in this - you say band does c&r with the singer, not the backup singers, the horn section, and then on the inside you talk about c&r with the "regular" guys in the band) only means that they decided to express the c&r differently. Please excuse my horrible run-on.

I took a class in college called "Black music and American cultural history" and C&R was the main idea present throughout all types of music we studied (gospel, jazz, rap, and hip-hop).
posted by kthxbi at 11:09 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

See James Brown, especially "Get Up/Sex Machine". Don't know if it has a name.
posted by attercoppe at 11:30 PM on December 14, 2009

Rather than thinking of it as a type of swing or jazz or music, I would suggest you look at it as specific device or effect which could be used in music of all varieties. Given the Frank example, you probably want to look at other big band, vocal jazz of that era. Sorry I can't be more specific, have not thought about that stuff in a long time.
posted by sundri at 2:03 AM on December 15, 2009

The "Knock On Wood" number in Casablanca has this. I think it may just be one of those things that doesn't have a name - at least not one more specific or succinct than "swing music featuring call-and-response between singer and band."

Have you tried using Pandora for this?
posted by tomboko at 6:27 AM on December 15, 2009

I don't know what you call it either, but here's Glenn Miller's Pennsylvania 6-5000.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:20 AM on December 15, 2009

Response by poster: Yeah pandora doesn't seem to be picking up on the fact that it's call and response that I'm looking for in the music - just the swing part of it. It'd be great if there was some sort of music mechanism that let you put MULTIPLE songs into it so it could figure out the connection you're looking for.

As far as Pennsylvania 6-5000 that's a good recommend.

posted by rileyray3000 at 9:45 AM on December 15, 2009

Just came in here as a former jazz musician to say what kthxbi said. The terminology is exactly as you mentioned: call and response. It appears in nearly every, if not every, subgenre of jazz.

It's essentially like saying that you'd like to know how to find more improv or scat in jazz. That's not going to be a particularly helpful search term.

You might consider re-asking this question next week as, "Give me your favorite examples of call-and-response in jazz!" That's about the only way I can think to do such a targeted search.
posted by greekphilosophy at 11:40 AM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

There's a Glen Miller 2-CD set with a blue cover, and it has seveal numbers featuring call-and-response between Glenn and the band. In some cases, however, it's Glenn and one of the band members talking, with the rest of the band acting as a sort of Greek chorus (saying, e.g., "Mmm-mmm" from time to time). Good stuff. I can dig up the CD title and song titles if you really care, or you acn hit your local library/shop for it.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:09 AM on December 16, 2009

I agree with what most everyone has said: This is simply called call and response.

For a fun example of this: Louis Prima does a lot of this with his lead tenor sax player, Sam Butera, as well as the rest of the band. I would recommend this CD: Buono Sera - The Best, The Wildest.

Best examples of the call and response on this CD:

Track 2: Just a Gigalo
Track 3: Oh Marie
Track 11: Pennies from Heaven

There are others, but you could argue that they are background singers rather than the band.
i.e. Track 15: Jump Jive 'n Wail (Where, I'm not sure, but any time I've done or seen this one done, it is the band.)

But one of the best examples of band shouting participation from Prima (IMO) is his rendition of "All of Me" on the "Say it With a Slap" album.

Either way, Prima is a fun listening experience.
posted by Kimothy at 4:15 PM on December 18, 2009

"East of the Sun and West of the Moon" is another Frank Sinatra one. I think it's with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. The same combo does "Dinah" the same way.

It's not quite call and response because the guys in the band are chanting a completely different set of words than Frank in the front.
posted by largecorp at 2:55 PM on December 26, 2009

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