HAPPY FEET (June 8, 2010)

I made my way to the second Tuesday-night appearance of Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks (at Sofia’s in the Hotel Edison, 221 West 46th Street, from 8-11 PM Mondays and Tuesdays) and recorded this delightful vignette: HAPPY FEET.

Everyone associates this song with Paul Whiteman and Horace Henderson; on their records, it’s played at a seriously brisk tempo.  But there’s another contemporaneous version (1930, I think) that Leo Reisman and his Orchestra [with Eddy Duchin on piano!] recorded for Victor — at a groovy tempo, with a blistering growl solo by trumpeter Bubber Miley.  (I read recently on the very informative Bixography website that Miley was a favorite of Victor recording executive L.R. (“Loren”) Watson, who was so impressed by Bubber’s sound and ferocious heat that he insisted that bands — including Hoagy Carmichael’s — make room for a Miley solo on their recordings.)

Here, the Nighthawks are Alex Norris and Mike Ponella, trumpets; Jim Fryer, trombone; Dan Block, Will Anderson, and Andy Farber, reeds; Andy Stein, violin / baritone sax; Peter Yarin, piano; Vince himself on vocals, bass sax, tuba, string bass; Arnie Kinsella, drums and percussion. 

James Lake and Deirdre Towers are the elegant, energetic pair of dancers.  Give them a low-down beat and they begin dancing . . . !

Who wouldn’t be happy?

3 responses to “HAPPY FEET (June 8, 2010)

  1. John Choquette

    What a keeper. The “bubber ” solo , great ! Music awaaaaay back then was lighter, more uplifting, – you have to dance either inwardly, or actually. Sometimes I get a “strange” feeling that I must hace played in a band during the “roaring 20’s” – and , I don’t even believe in any of that “past lives” silliness.

  2. “Happy Feet” is available in “Bubber Miley – Rare Recordings 1924-1931” (Vintage Music Productions CD VMP 0161), a good sample of Miley’s career.


  3. Thanks, Agustin! I am not sure that the CD reissue is the best sound for the 78s — but I think I posted a YouTube clip of someone spinning just that 78 side . . . not only can people hear it, but they can also watch the scroll Victor spin around . . . Cheers, Michael

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