Music Review: Swing Time
“Hi dee hidee hidee hi,” I sang. To my surprise, my six-year-old grandson responded with “Ho dee hodee ho dee ho!” I almost fell out of my chair! He smiled and, as if anticipating my question, said, “The Blues Brothers, Grandpa Chip.”
Swing Café was recently reviewed on this site and offers parents a great opportunity to introduce kids to jazz. Not smooth jazz, not jazz lite, not Kenny G, but REAL jazz. This could be a joint venture for parents and kids alike, especially if the parents aren’t familiar with classic jazz artists like Duke Ellington, the Mills Brothers, Lionel Hampton, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway or Ella Fitzgerald.
It’s part of our culture and part of being culturally literate. Expose yourself to jazz. Even Elvis Presley would tease his backup singers with a tongue-in-cheek threat to replace them with Ella Fitzgerald. You aren’t familiar with “scat singing”? Ella was a master at it as were the Mills Brothers. Do your kids know what a “78” is? Do you?
The story portion of Swing Café’s CD (in which a bug named “Zaz” becomes a jazz singer) includes excerpts from a dozen classic jazz tracks which precede seven of the twelve presented again in their entirety. These are not slick studio recordings, but authentic original vintage jazz reproduced from original records — snaps, crackles, and pops (not the cereal) included. So after you and your child have learned how to pursue your dreams (like Zaz did), invest a bit more time in learning about a genre of music that is uniquely American — jazz.