Jumpin' at the Westside features fantastic live music from three different bands!
Combo Royale serves up a jambalaya of old time foot Stompin' Jazz, heralding an era when jazz bands gathered in the streets and their music echoed from every corner tavern. This is jazz to raise your glass to and shout out along with the band!
John Shea Trio
A Grand Rapids local, John Shea has been passionately involved in the world of jazz for over thirty years and has played for many different people at many different events. Every week he can be found performing all over Grand Rapids for the enjoyment of his many regulars.
A band local to Grand Rapids, Captain Caravan specializes in jazz, funk, and fusion. The bandleader Logan Vanderlaan is also a swing dancer at Rapid Rhythms and loves playing music for others to dance to!
We asked our DJ’s to write a bit about music that really makes them want to move, and here are their answers! Look forward to them spinning some hot tunes during the event!
I remember learning about The Whistling Song by Peter Davis through a 2015 Youtube video of a social dance from Korea. It was a cheerful, lighthearted song that allowed for a lot of play showcased by some incredible dancers. But despite being a modern artist, the album Goin’ to Lindy Land was non-existent on the internet. The community was abuzz with how to get ahold of this awesome song, and it was exciting to be a part of the search. Now every time I dance to the song I try to have as much fun as the couple that inspired me to track it down.
Whether it’s from tracking down those rare hits or just randomly discovering a new one, sharing those songs with others is the coolest part of being a DJ.
If it’s music Brooke’s gonna play, it’s gotta have some ass to it. We’re talking the Chess era circa the 1950’s when Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Little Walter ruled Chicago. Or vocal powerhouses Big Mama Thornton, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, and other boss women who don’t take no crap from nobody! And don’t forget Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Etta James, and so much more Soul to touch your soul and really sink your feet into!
I was asked for a music recommendation, so you're going to get a history lesson. Ma Rainey, known as the Mother of the Blues, had a reputation for debauchery and specifically for preferring her debauchery with the company of other women. As the story goes, one night in 1925, a particularly wild party of hers got raided by the Chicago police and Ma Rainey was thrown in jail overnight. In the morning she was released (with her bail paid by Bessie Smith, according to some versions), and proceeded to go home and write a song detailing that yes, she definitely was up to some scandalous things with some scandalous women, but the police couldn't prove it, so she'd keep doing it. That song was released in 1928 as Prove It On Me Blues. If you'd like to hear a more modern rendition, Gaye Adegbalola, a currently performing blues artist and activist, does an excellent one, though her version's line "they must have been women, because there sure were no men" is a bit mellower than Ma's original "because I don't like no men."
Jony hails from St. Louis, MO where he spends most of his time feeling like there’s not enough time in the day.
His favorite jazz instrument is Tenor Saxophone, and one of the greatest tenor players out there is Illinois Jacquet. While he is not the inventor of the unforgettable break in Flyin’ Home that we all love to jump to, he is certainly the one who pioneered it. His most notable performance was when he played Flyin’ Home with Lionel Hampton in 1942 and it was one of the first times his particular style of tenor was recorded (called honking tenor). Ever since then, dancers around the world dream about pulling “the Jacquet solo” when it’s their turn in a jam style format, especially since Flyin’ Home is played so often in competition finals.
Enough about Flyin’ Home, it’s not even my favorite song of Jacquet, it’s not even played on my favorite album of his (which is also my favorite jazz album of all time). The Definitive Black And Blue Session was an album recorded in 1974, live in Paris, and the very first song on that album is called Bottom’s Up. The album also features other artists who are amazing all on their own, Jo Jones, Roland Lobligeois, and Milt Buckner (who is my favorite organ player). What makes this recording of the song so special is the combination of so many great things together: Great musicians, two break solos, a key change, a jump chorus, rhythm changes for days, etc etc. 80 years ago Jacquet changed the way we look at jazz music, and it’s still changing people like me every day.
Al Sears' album "The Big Raw Tone" is something that I'd recommend to any swing DJ out there. It features 23 songs that are absolutely loaded with Sears' badass tenor sax, fun and tangible rhythmic ideas to play with while on the floor, and a fantastic chug to the swinging beat that just really makes me want to swing out. Check it out if you haven't heard it yet!