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Overlooked: From Spirituals to Swing (Audio)

Nov 28, 2023

After the local news at noon, music recorded at two concerts entitled, “From Spirituals to Swing” in the late 1930s. Not even 30 at the time, producer John Hammond went against all odds and assembled two Carnegie Hall concerts that, for the first time, traced the evolution of African-American music from spirituals and blues to boogie-woogie and swing, and brought this music from dance hall to concert hall. In addition to being musically revolutionary, these concerts were among the first to present integrated bands such as Benny Goodman's to integrated audiences, exposing African-American music for the first time to many in the audience. This broadcast features selections from both concerts, on December 23, 1938 and December 24, 1939, released in 1999 as a three-CD set on Vanguard.

Playlist:
Oh Lady Be Good, Allez Oop, Mortgage Stomp - Kansas City Five
Overlooked Theme/Vitus Labrusca - Ben LaMar Gay

1938:
What More Can Jesus Do?, My Poor Mother Died A 'Shoutin’ - Mitchell’s Christian Singers
Rock Me, That’s All - Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Fox Chase - Sonny Terry
Carolina Shout - James P. Johnson
It’s Alright Baby - Big Joe Turner and Pete Johnson
It Was Just A Dream - Big Bill Broonzy
Stealin’ Blues - Count Basie Orchestra and Jimmy Rushing
Introduction - John Hammond
Blues With Helen - Kansas City Five and Helen Humes
Boogie Woogie - Albert Ammons
Honky Tonk Train Blues - Meade Lux Lewis
Cavalcade of Boogie - Meade Lux Lewis, Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, Walter Page, Jo Jones
Milenberg Joys - New Orleans Feetwarmers
Swinging the Blues - Count Basie Orchestra
I Never Knew - Kansas City Five (Lester Young, clarinet)
Don’t Be That Way - Kansas City Five (Lester Young, tenor sax)
After You’ve Gone - Kansas City Six

1939:
Gospel Train, Noah - Golden Gate Quartet
Stompin’ at the Savoy, Honeysuckle Rose - Benny Goodman Sextet
Mule Walk - James P. Johnson
Lowdown Dirty Shame - Ida Cox, James P. Johnson, Walter Page, Freddie Green, Jo Jones, Shad Collins, Dickie Wells, Buddy Tate
Done Got Wise - Big Bill Broonzy and Albert Ammons
Mountain Blues - Sonny Terry
Paging the Devil, Way Down Yonder in New Orleans - Kansas City Six
If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight - Count Basie Orchestra, Helen Humes, James P. Johnson
That Rhythm Man - Count Basie Orchestra
Oh, Lady Be Good (Jam) - soloists: Count Basie, Lester Young, Meade Lux Lewis, Albert Ammons, Charlie Christian, Harry Sweets Edison, Fletcher Henderson, Walter Page plus members of Count Basie Orchestra and Benny Goodman Sextet.

“Overlooked” is a show focusing on overlooked and under-heard jazz, improvisational, and other fringe music, from early roots to contemporary experiments, a mix of familiar to rare, classic to weird. Live from the shadow of Overlook Mountain in Ulster County.

Host Rob Saffer is the former Executive Director and Producer of the Creative Music Foundation. While living in Brooklyn for 25 years, he served on advisory boards for Celebrate Brooklyn and Symphony Space. He also curated the Brooklyn Museum’s summer jazz series and helped found The Mingus Big Band.

Overlooked Playlist Archive

Playlist:
  • I Am The Fly / Wire
  • SLD (Morning Show) / E. Jones
  • Vitis Labrusca / Ben LaMar Gay
  • What More Can My Jesus Do? / Mitchell's Christian Singers
  • Mother Dies A-Shoutin' / Mitchell's Christian Singers
  • Rock Me / Sister Tharpe
  • That's All / Sister Rosetta
  • Fox Chase / Various Artists
  • Carolina Shout / Various Artists
  • It's All Right Baby / Pete Johnson
  • It Was Just a Dream / Big Bill Broonzy & Albert Ammons
  • Stealin' Blues / Jimmy Rushing
  • Mortgage Stomp / Helen Humes
  • Blues with Helen / Helen Humes
  • Boogie Woogie / Albert Ammons
  • Honky Tonk Train Blues / Meade Lux Lewis
  • Cavalcade of Boogie / Various Artists
  • Milenberg Joys / New Orleans Feetwarmers
  • Swingin' The Blues / Count Basie
  • I Never Knew / Kansas City Five
  • Don't Be That Way / Kansas City Five
  • After You've Gone / Kansas City Six
  • Gospel Train / Golden Gate Quartet
  • Noah / Golden Gate Quartet
  • Stompin' At The Savoy / Benny Goodman Sextet
  • Honeysuckle Rose / Benny Goodman & His Sextet
  • The Mule Walk / Various Artists
  • Lowdown Dirty Shame / Ida Cox
  • Done Got Wise / Big Bill Broonzy
  • Mountain Blues / Sonny Terry
  • Pagin' the Devil / The Kansas City Six
  • Way Down Yonder In New Orleans / Kansas City Six
  • If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight / Various Artists
  • Oh Lady Be Good / Charlie Christian