Put on your zoot suit and lace up your two-tone shoes. Jazz has returned to the dance floor. A New generation is bopping, twirling, and dipping to the retro sounds of Royal Crown Revue, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and the Squirrel Nut Zippers, as well as Glen Miller and Louis Jordan. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, swing is back. Also, Stanley Crouch pays tribute to Duke Ellington.
V.Vale is the author of "Swing! The New Retro Renaissance." He tells Jim Fleming that swing bands are popular again in both cities and suburbia and are fueling a revival of couples dancing. And, two members of the popular retro swing band, The Red Hot Skillet Lickers, (vocalist Levay Smith and piano player Chris Siebert) tell Jim Fleming how 90's swing differs from the music of the Big Band Era, though it owes its rhythm to the jazz tradition. The Red Hot Skillet Lickers hail from San Francisco, and have a CD called "One Hour Mama." Also, Stanley Crouch is a jazz fan, cultural critic, and the author "Always in Pursuit: Fresh American Perspectives, 1995-1997." He tells Steve Paulson that Duke Ellington was an American artistic genius -- the equal of Hemingway or Frank Lloyd Wright. Crouch especially admires Ellington's ability to portray American experience in his music.SEGMENT 2:
Bart Schneider is the editor of the Hungry Mind Review. In his novel "Blue Bossa," he spells out the tragic story of Ronnie Reboulet -- a fictional character loosely based on the brilliant jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. Schneider tells Steve Paulson that Baker was a drug addict who lost all his teeth but remained driven to express himself through his instrument.SEGMENT 3:
Sixties radical Angela Davis now teaches the history of consciousness at UC-Santa Cruz. She talks with Judith Strasser about her book, "Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday." She says that even when they sing about being beaten, blues women refuse to become passive victims.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 98-05-17-C.
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