Happy birthday, Ella!

Ella Fitzgerald was born 100 years ago today!  We love the “first lady of song” — one of our favorites to perform is this classic she did with Chick Webb’s orchestra:

Here’s a podcast from the great show Music from 100 years ago:

And here’s NPR’s story on her life.  Happy birthday, Ella!



“Theft! A history of music”

Attention music history and or copyright nerds:  check out Theft! A History of Music, a graphic novel laying out a 2000 year long history of musical borrowing from Plato to rap. It is available  for free download under a Creative Commons license.

The excerpt below talks about some of the early reaction to jazz, which  was not always well-received.  Etude, a music magazine in the ’20s had an entire edition devoted to the “jazz problem” in which  jazz was described as “a collection of squeals and squawks and wails.”  Learn about this and other interesting episodes from the history of music in Theft!


February shows & Valentine’s day

Hi fans,

We have lots of fun shows coming up in February:

On Saturday Feb. 25 we will be playing at the DC distiller’s festival. It’s a prohibition era themed event with liquor tastings from over 20 craft distillers.  The soundtrack will be provided by us and another great band, Tounge in Cheek!  We will be playing sessions #2 (4:30-6:30PMand #3 (8-10PM).  Discounted tickets are available for a limited time here or here. They are normally $170 but available for half that at those links.

Sun Feb. 26 we’re stompin’ at the new deal café!  We are offering FREE tickets to the first 100,000 people to attend!

We also hope you have a great valentine’s day! If you are looking for some valentine’s day music from 100 years ago, check out this great podcast!

Happy new year!

Happy new year, all!  One hundred years ago, in 1917, the original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded what many consider to be the first jazz album, Livery Stable Blues.  1917 marks a turning point in the history of jazz music– it was this year that jazz music began to be recorded and spread in popularity from New Orleans throughout the United States.   Within 10 years jazz was the most popular form of music in the United States.   Listen to Livery Stable Blues and many other great jazz recordings from 1917 on the great podcast, music from 100 years ago:

We hope your 2017 is off to a great start and hope to see you at many great jazz shows this year!

Happy thanksgiving–or as it used to be known, “Ragamuffin Day”!

thanksgiving-masking-13c6e356820ec92330ef0a4a53a367ff7b38f815-s800-c85Happy thanksgiving, Whomp Stomper fans!  Did you know in the early 20th century, thanksgiving was known as “Ragamuffin Day” and was celebrated a lot more like we celebrate Halloween today?

“Children would dress themselves in rags and oversized, overdone parodies of beggars (a la Charlie Chaplin’s character ‘The Tramp’),”

“The ragamuffins would then ask neighbors and adults on the street, ‘Anything for Thanksgiving?’ The usual response would be pennies, an apple, or a piece of candy.”

Check out this NPR article on the subject. However you celebrate, we hope you have a great one!  Enjoy the Duke Ellington Orchestra’s version of Ragamuffin Romeo to get back into the ’20s Ragamuffin spirit: