Besides being good publicity, Tommy Dorsey's article on jitterbugs in this week's "Look" had some very good ideas. Designed to refute Artie Shaw's blasts in the Saturday Evening Post (interesting to note what magazines the offense and defense find refuge in), Dorsey said in effect that Jitterbugs had just as much right to their style of dancing as did the swing musicians to their style of playing; and that anyway, there was nothing wrong with most Jitterbugs; that while rather stupid extremists could be found now and then, extremism of an asinine variety is not peculiar to the Jitterbug world. He adds the rather telling point that Jitterbugging to the stimulus of a couple of cokes is much better than doing the Charleston--badly--to the tune of bathtub gin.
To the above this reviewer would like to add a word about jitterbugging in general. A great many people say that it is unsightly. We agree that very often jitterbugs don't look too aesthetic in their dancing. But this is usually because they aren't dancing well--because they are dancing stiffly--and therefore get out of time with dire results to their steps. Good dancing of this type, done well, is as (or more) attractive than a great deal of the ballroom dancing today. If you don't think this is true, watch some good colored dancers when they aren't showing off. To the charge that jitterbugging is "sexually stimulating to the point of degeneracy" advanced by such an eminent authority on the dance as one of Harvard's professor of Sociology, we ask how one can worry about sex at a distance of six feet when most of the brain space is being devoted to the quite difficult problem of keeping one's balance. Jitterbugging is hard work--vaguely like a track meet. Seems to me that the dreamy-eyed couples floating along to Guy Lombardo's dulcet strains have much more opportunity for sex, unadulterated, than does the genus jitterbug.
Notes between the notes: The All-Star record that Metronome Magazine in conjunction with Columbia Record Corp. is putting out next week will be very interesting from many standpoints. Besides having the winners of Metronome's Band Poll playing in one band, it will settle the argument about Gene Krupa's drumming. When Krupa left Goodman, he was a brilliant show-off--and therefore a lousy band drummer. Since then, all the critics that have given his band any attention at all have agreed that Gene has changed into one of the most unostentatious and best band drummers around. Since the record will have most of the Goodman rhythm section on it, it'll be interesting to see what the result is. . . .
Another one to keep your eyes and cars open for is the Rodgers-Hartalbum that Columbia is bringing out next week. Dick Rodgers and Lorenz Hart ("There's A Small Hotel," "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," and scads of other tunes) are in my opinion in the top three of tinsmiths writing today. "Slaughter On Tenth Avenue" from "On Your Toes" showed that their originality wasn't of the June-Moon type either. The album won't be swing, but it will be full of excellent and melodic jazz, skillfully conducted by Rodgers himself . . . Orchids to RCA Victor for one of the finest recording jobs done in some time: Red Nichols' "My Melancholy Baby."
Interesting to note what happened the other night at Kirkland House. As long as the band was allowed to play what it wanted to, and to play it at a reckless volume, their music was fairly good. As soon as the house committee got on the ball and demanded "soft--and sweet," the band sounded like a bunch of highschool musicians on their first job. Moral: Don't expect soft swing or good sweet from a band unless you pay for it. . . . Dunster House decided at the last minute not to get Red Norvo for their dance on March 1, and settled on localite Buddy Trask. While Trask isn't too bad, it's a shame that they didn't take Norvo since it would have given Harvard a preview on a new style of playing swing that everybody in the business is predicting to be sensational.