Orange County/ Los Angeles Swing Dance DJ Disc Jockey

Big Band DJ Disc Jockey

swing dance music

949.362.3535
..."Massive Success Is The Best Revenge." - Frank Sinatra

The Kings Of Big Band Swing Music

Swing's The Thing!

If you want to add a musical touch of class to your event, Big Band Swing Music is a great place to start. Nothing says "formal yet fun" better than the black tie sound of Swing Dance Music. For some, this music is a newly discovered treat. For others, a surprising reminder of joyful memories from long ago.

The popularity of Big Band Swing Music peaked in the 1940's. Although it has enjoyed a big revival over the last several decades, many Swing songs no longer get the exposure they once did. Classic Swing Dance Music by such artists as Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Louis Prima still receive airplay. But many other great tunes seem to have gotten lost along the way. This makes hearing them again an unexpected treasure.

As an Orange County/ Los Angeles Swing Disc Jockey, this is one of DJ Craig's specialties. He has spent years compiling a library of songs and artists that embody the elegant sense of romance, expectation and innocence started by The Swingers. The following list includes favorite artists and song recommendations.








Rhino Records
Verve Vault
Selected Swing Artists- Please click on a favorite or scroll down:


Louis Armstrong

Chet Baker

Tony Bennett

Nat King Cole

Harry Connick Jr.

Bobby Darin

Ella Fitzgerald

Diana Krall

Louis Prima

Brian Setzer

Frank Sinatra

Sting

Dinah Washington




Louis Armstrong



Considered one of the greatest jazz players ever, America's Ambassador Of Song radiated enthusiasm in both his horn playing and singing. With a gravelly foghorn of a voice, he was perhaps the most unlikely of vocalists. But his undeniable sense of joy won fans over around the world.

Armstrong's wonderfully improvisational trumpet helped export American Jazz internationally in his many tours and concert appearances. His musical career began in pre 1920s New Orleans and continued through the 1960s. In 1963, "Sachmo" even knocked The Beatles from the top of the charts with his classic rendition of "Hello Dolly". His swan song, "What A Wonderful World", was a number one hit in 1968.


DJ Craig Suggests:

All Of Me
A Kiss to Build a Dream On
Dream A Little Dream
I'm In The Mood For Love
I've Got The World On A String
Jeepers Creepers
Just One Of Those Things
La Vie En Rose
Mack The Knife
Only You
We Have All The Time In The World
What A Wonderful World
You're The Top





Chet Baker



A singer and trumpet player with a laid back style, Chet put the "mellow" in melancholy. The "Prince of Cool Jazz" sang with a satiny smooth, detached manner and played his seductive horn with an effortless flair.

One of the lesser known Swing artists, Baker's recordings hold up exceptionally well. His music, often featuring themes of romantic longing and loss, was a contrast in itself. At it's most sullen, there's still an undeniable element of joy to it. Conversely, even Baker's most upbeat songs belie a dark motif.

His trademark "My Funny Valentine" is part devotional sonnet and part distraught plea. The song is sung from the perspective of an obsessive voyeur, resigned to sadly gaze from afar at an unobtainable prize.


DJ Craig Suggests:

I Fall In Love Too Easily
I Remember You
Isn't It Romantic
Let's Get Lost
Look For The Silver Lining
My Funny Valentine
There Will Never Be Another You
The Thrill Is Gone
These Foolish Things
Time After Time
You're Driving Me Crazy





Tony Bennett



As Sinatra's favorite singer, Tony Bennet has had his share of ups and downs. The story goes that in the 1960s, a bartender convinced Bennet to record a song he had just finished singing on stage. Bennett's "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" became a smash hit and propelled his career into high gear. But by the 1980s, the Italian crooner had fallen so far out of favor he couldn't get a record deal.

His well deserved comeback is due in large part to an "Unplugged" concert he did for MTV in 1994. A whole new audience has discovered the Bennett sound and his career has taken to new heights. Tony's recent duet with k.d. Lang on "What A Wonderful World" leaves no doubt that his voice still shines.


DJ Craig Suggests:

Exactly like You (with k.d. Lang)
For Once In My Life
I Left My Heart In San Francisco
I Wanna Be Around
I'll Be Around
Rags To Riches
Steppin' Out With My Baby
The Shadow Of Your Smile
The Way You Look Tonight
Top Hat White Tie Tails
What A Wonderful World (with k.d. Lang)
(Where Do I Begin) Love Story





Nat King Cole



If Mel Torme was the "Velvet Fog", Cole was pure velvet. Take a listen to Cole's songs and you'll swear they were recorded yesterday. There's an immediacy and crispness to them that remains timeless. Cole's clarity and tone are so contemporary and fresh that a remixed recording of "Unforgettable" went back to the top of the charts, 4 decades after it's original 1952 release! His sense of style and sophistication are unmatched even by Sinatra. From the more than 2,000 recorded versions of "Stardust", Nat's may be the definitive one.

More than a great singer, Nat was a gifted musician as well. His immaculate piano playing can be heard on classics such as "Too Marvelous For Words" and "Paper Moon". In fact, Cole didn't reveal his amazing voice until well into his career as a musician.


DJ Craig Suggests:

Autumn Leaves
Can I Come In For A Second
Fascination
For All We Know
For You My Love
L-O-V-E
Nature Boy
Paper Moon
Smile
Stardust
Tangerine
Tenderly
The Very Thought Of You
These Foolish Things
Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days Of Summer
Too Marvelous For Words
Unforgettable
Walkin' My Baby Back Home
When I Fall In Love
You're The Cream In My Coffee
Non Dimenticar





Harry Connick Jr.



With his stylish singing and piano playing, Harry Connick creates new music in the style of classic American swing. Connick's introduction to a mass audience came when director Rob Reiner asked him to contribute the score to the 1989 smash 'When Harry Met Sally'. The project resulted in his his first big-band recording and his first multi-platinum album.

Connick's "It Had To Be You" was one of the biggest songs of that year and continues to be the mark by which his work is measured. The comparison of Connick's tone to that of a young Sinatra is a fair one. Let's hope that like Frank, he continues to get even better as he matures.


DJ Craig Suggests:

A Wink And A Smile
Charade
I Could Write A Book
It Had To Be You
Recipe For Love
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
We Are In Love





Bobby Darin



Bobby Darin had big hit songs and mass radio airplay but his most legendary moments came in his live performances. Darin's fabulous concerts to packed houses earned him rousing standing ovations, rave reviews and comparisons to Sinatra. And it almost didn't happen.

In 1959, Dick Clark advised against recording "Mack the Knife". Although Clark thought Bobby's young fan base would resent a non-rock song, Darin followed his own instincts. He liked Mack's offbeat tempo and dark, violent lyrics. Bobby went ahead with the record and that decision changed his life.

Bobby Darin's "Mack the Knife" rose quickly to Number One and stayed there for nine consecutive weeks. It was in the Top Ten for 22 weeks! Darin won Record of the Year and two Grammy Awards. His fan base swelled and he was soon performing on TV, in upscale nightclubs and resorts.

Darin was the youngest-ever headliner at the prized Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. The Sands was the center of show business, home of the notorious "Rat Pack" of Sinatra, Dean & Sammy. "Mack the Knife" transformed Bobby from a pop star to an international musical icon.

Kevin Spacey's recent portrayal of Bobby in the biographical movie 'Beyond The Sea', is a testament to Darin's long lasting appeal. Nearly fifty years since his initial recording, Darin's music sounds as good as it did the day it first came out.


DJ Craig Suggests:

Beyond The Sea
Call Me Irresponsible
Charade
Dream Lover
Fly Me To The Moon
Hello Young Lovers
I'm Sitting On Top Of The World
Mack The Knife
Moon River
More
Nature Boy
That Funny Feeling





Ella Fitzgerald



"America's First Lady Of Song" never received formal vocal training. Despite that, Ella's technique and three-octave vocal range rivals that of a conservatory trained singer. Her voice features an unmatched clarity and youthful timbre. Fitzgerald has an improvisational talent on par with that of the best jazz instrumentalists. Her spontaneous, often pyrotechnic scat vocalizations can be heard on such songs as "Blue Skies".


DJ Craig Suggests:

Angel Eyes
Blue Skies
Something's Gotta Give
They All Laughed (with Louis Armstrong)
They Can't Take That Away From Me (with Louis Armstrong)
Wait 'Til You See Him





Diana Krall



One of the newer Jazz artists, Diana continues the tradition of the Old School while sounding quite contemporary. Sultry, soft and vulnerable, her vocals harken back to "torch" singers such as Julie London. Krall has been singing songs like "Ghost Of A Chance" and "You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me" since she was 15 years old.

Diana is as comfortable in front of the keyboard as she is at the microphone. "All For You", her breakthrough 1996 recording, was a personal dedication to the music of the Nat King Cole Trio.


DJ Craig Suggests:

As Time Goes By
Besame Mucho
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
Let's Fall in Love
S'Wonderful
The Look of Love





Louis Prima



Louis Prima and Keely Smith used to bring the house down at their live Vegas shows during the 50s & 60s Rat Pack era. Prima's energetic, sometimes manic stage presence was perfectly tempered by Smith's cool, classy reserve. Their duets on classics such as the bouncy "Hey Girl, Hey Boy" and "Together" have become legendary. Louis' frenzied trumpet playing provided the spark that set his songs and the entire Strip on fire.

Prima was perhaps the first to incorporate Rock and Roll into Swing. An influence that would come to inspire Brian Setzer and a whole generation of New Wave Swingers such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Royal Crown Revue. "Jump Jive an' Wail", written by Prima in the late 1930s, became a smash hit again when covered by Brian Setzer in 1998.




Keely Smith continues to record and tour. Listen to her 2007 interview from "All Things Considered" here:
Keely Smith on NPR.


DJ Craig Suggests:

5 Months 2 Weeks 2 Days
Angelina
Bueno Sera
That Old Black Magic
Hey Boy Hey Girl
Jump Jive an' Wail
Just A Gigolo
Oh, Marie
Sing Sing Sing
Together
When You're Smiling





Brian Setzer



As lead singer and guitarist of eighties band The Stray Cats, Brian Setzer practically singlehandedly revived the long defunct, Rockabilly style of music. The Stray Cats went on to sell millions of albums and make Rockabilly popular internationally.

Setzer is obviously a man who relishes a challenge. His next musical mission was to lead a Swing revival in an age of hip hop and grunge rock. Setzer took his love of Swing and mixed it with a rock guitar. The Brian Setzer Orchestra went on to lead the New Wave Swing movement of the 1990's.

His 1998 cover of "Jump Jive an' Wail" became a Top 40 and MTV staple. His version of "In The Mood" proudly revamps the Glenn Miller classic. In an era of rap, thrash rock and bubblegum pop, Setzer's enthusiasm for energetic swing has helped bring jitterbugging back into popularity with young and old alike.


DJ Craig Suggests:

Ball And Chain
Gettin' In The Mood
If You Can't Rock Me
Jump Jive an' Wail
Rock This Town (swing version)
The House is Rocking
There's A Rainbow Round My Shoulder
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Your True Love





Frank Sinatra



"The Voice".

The most popular pop star of all time, Sinatra's cross-generational appeal spans the better part of a century. A self described "saloon singer", Frank could transform himself from a regular Joe to elegant sophisticate in the span of a single song. His music continues to inspire millions of men to also identify with their tuxedoed, debonair, romantic alter egos.

Sinatra always had a considerable ability to express emotions that men have often struggled to articulate. As his career continued, this ability became even more acute. His themes of love, vulnerability and heartache had women flocking to his concerts and hoarding his records.

Influenced by crooner Bing Crosby early on, Sinatra later decided, "...to experiment a little and come up with something different. What I finally hit on was more the bel canto Italian style of singing without making a point of it." This unique vocal phrasing led to a captivating mix of swagger and bravado tempered by his trademark sensitivity and pathos.

Frank evolved beyond his image as a bobby-sox idol singing pop love songs. He now also sang with conviction about the dark realities of life. Lessons of loneliness, defeat, heartbreak and the struggle to overcome, were convincingly conveyed from the perspective of one who had faced those demons and remained standing.

This brought a new facet to his music and helped make him as popular with men as he had been with women. That and his growing reputation as a hard drinking, jet setting, tough-minded fellow. The "Chairman Of The Board" demonstrated that, though still sensitive and vulnerable, he was a man's man. Break his heart and he'd cry. Double cross him and you'd pay. Sinatra provided the road map that made it possible for even the machoest of men to connect to feelings of romance and sentimentality.

For decades, Sinatra's music has been the soundtrack for falling into and out of love. Frank was also an accomplished actor and renowned live stage performer. His popularity and career longevity remain unmatched. An anonymous quote sums up Sinatra's massive impact on popular culture- "It's Frank's world, we just live in it."


DJ Craig Suggests:

All The Way
As Time Goes By
At Long Last Love
Come Dance With Me
Come Fly With Me
Fly Me To The Moon
I Get A Kick Out Of You
It Had To Be You
It Was A Very Good Year
Moonlight Serenade
My Way
New York, New York
Nice And Easy
Night And Day
Oh, You Crazy Moon
Strangers In The Night
Summer Wind
That's Life
The Best Is Yet To Come
The Way You Look Tonight
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
Witchcraft





Sting



Perhaps an unexpected entry here, Sting has proven to be a unique interpreter of vocal ballads. His version of "Angel Eyes" conveys a darkness and emptiness that rivals Sinatra at his most heartbroken.

A versatile performer, Sting is an accomplished bassist and has sold millions of albums of contemporary jazz compositions and mainstream rock. He has performed at The Superbowl and at the "A Tribute To Heroes" concert for 911 victims.

Sting's cover of the vocal classic, "My One And Only Love" is subtle and sweet. Quite a leap from his stint as leader of eighties protopunk band, The Police. Sting's ability to cross musical boundaries and particular devotion to Swing Jazz Vocals, lands him a deserved mention here.


DJ Craig Suggests:

Angel Eyes
In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
Moonlight (Sabrina)
My One And Only Love
Until
What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?
(with Chris Botti)
Windmills of Your Mind
You Were Meant For Me





Dinah Washington



Dinah incorporated blues, jazz and pop into her music, becoming the most popular black female recording artist of the 50s. Her turbulent personal life included a tough childhood, seven marriages and substance abuse. Dinah unabashedly channeled this raw emotion into her singing.

Never has the sound of obsessive love been captured so well as on Washington's "Mad About The Boy". Quincy Jones once said of Dinah, "Once she put her soulful trademark on a song, she owned it and it was never the same."

The "Queen Of The Jukebox" displayed a tough, unsentimental, yet gripping hold on the universal subject of lost love. She has had a huge influence on R&B and jazz singers who have followed in her wake, notably Nancy Wilson, Esther Phillips and Diane Schuur.


DJ Craig Suggests:

A Sunday Kind Of Love
Baby You've Got What It Takes (with Brook Benton)
Destination Moon
Everybody Loves Somebody
Everbody's Somebody's Fool
Mad About The Boy
Our Love Is Here To Stay
This Bitter Earth
Unforgettable
What A Difference A Day Makes
When I Fall In Love






Other favorite
Big Band Swing music artists:

Etta James, Shirley Bassey, Edie Gorme, Peggy Lee, Glenn Miller, Cab Calloway, Kay Starr, Tommy Dorsey, Dean Martin, Julie London, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Nancy Wilson, Mel Torme, Harry James, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Artie Shaw, Nina Simone, Linda Ronstadt with Nelson Riddle.


- DJ Craig



To schedule an appointment with DJ Craig or inquire about date availability, please call 949.362.3535.



The contents of this page are proprietary and exclusive property of DJ Craig. Any unauthorized use or reproduction without express written consent is prohibited.


Copyright © 2007- 2015, Creative / DJ Craig / djcraig.net

All rights reserved.




big band swing music








Grammy125x125




Banner


DJ Craig.Net Is Music For California weddings and special party events.

























Orange County/ Los Angeles Swing Dance DJ Disc Jockey

Orange County/ Los Angeles Big Band DJ Disc Jockey

Learn to Swing, Salsa, Ballroom Dance Online
Learn to dance online. Free lessons. Jive moves, salsa steps, and ballroom to latin sequences