There are several reasons for music, all of which enhance us in some way: spiritual and mental enhancement (hymns, chants and storytelling), and physical (dancing). And it is dancing, the movement of feet in tune and time with rhythms that this compilation is all about.
Given that jazz was a development of ragtime and boogie-woogie played in the bars and shebeens of the urban African-American community at the turn of the last century, it’s worth having a cursory look at one form of dancing in South Africa which seems to have found its way into the USA in the twenties. And, no, I’m not referring to the Charleston but to the Stomp.
Stomping is different, done with the whole shoe or, as in this case, wellington boots, with addition claps and slaps to provide a lighter touch.
Gumboot dancing was originated by miners in South Africa. Facing oppression and hardship at the mines, including punishment if they talked to each other while working, they were forced to adapt and create new forms of communication and entertainment. The fact that many ethnic groups and languages existed side by side also contributed to developing their associations through the shared language of rhythm and music.
The boots were provided by mine owners because they were cheaper than draining the mines.
And gumboot dancers stomp : v.tr. to bring the foot down forcibly onto a surface.
The word was first used in 1899 as the name of a jazz dance marked by heavy stamping.
This selection features pre-war American jazz, from boogie-woogie pianists, to guitarists, to full bands, all aiming to at least get your feet tapping if you haven’t got the time or inclination to stamp around your floor.
1924. Jimmy Blythe – Chicago Stomp
1925. Original Memphis Five – Indiana Stomp (sorry ,this seems to be a dud track)
1925. Jelly Roll Morton – Black Bottom Stomp
1926. Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers – Kansas City Stomp
1927. Cannon’s Jug Stompers – Minglewood Blues
1927. Fats Waller – Geechee Stomp
1927. Jeanette James and Her Synco Jazzers w. Mary Lou Williams – Midnight Stomp
1928. Lonnie Johnson – Stompin’ Em Along Now (solo guitar)
1929. Duke Ellington and His Cotton Club Orchestra – Stevedore Stomp
1929. Eddie Condon’s Hot Shots – I’m Gonna Stomp Mr. Henry Lee
1929. Neil Montgomery and His Orchestra – Auburn Ave. Stomp
1929. Roy Johnson’s Happy Pals – Happy Pal Stomp
1931. Blind Willie McTell – Stomp Down Rider (actually a blues number)
1934. Chick Webb – Stompin’ At The Savoy
1934. Gus Viseur – Philippe’s Stomp (a French band)
1934. Louie Bluie & Ted Bogan – Ted’s Stomp (very rural)
1937. Chu Berry and his Stompy Stevedores – Chuberry Jam
1938. Benny Goodman – Stompin’ at The Savoy
1938. Count Basie & His Orchestra – Panassie Stomp
1939. Jimmy Yancey – Yancey Stomp
1940. Sidney Bechet – Stompy Jones
Stephane Grappelli’s London Quintet in 1942.
When the WWII broke out, Grappelli was in a London hospital and, unable to return to France, he established a band to play in hospitals and military bases. “But all the Englishmen had been called up, and so I had to recruit the handicapped. Blind George Shearing was on the piano and the bass player had one leg,”