Mike Plaskett and Dale Abraham, who co-host the excellent two-hour Rhythm Sweet & Hot Saturday nights over WESA from 6-8 PM, commemorated a landmark last Saturday when they noted the centennial of the first commercial jazz recording by playing the New Orleans-based Original Dixieland Jass Band's "Livery Stable Blues."
Late last month, PG columnist Brian O' Neill wrote about helping to pack the vintage photo files still residing in the old PG building on the Boulevard of the Allies. One of the questions he asked as he worked through the alphabetized file was "Ziggy Elman – who's he?" Saturday evening, Brian visited to WESA's Rhythm, Sweet and Hot, the long-running Big Band show hosted by Mike Plaskett and Dale Abraham, both deeply versed in both the hot swing and sweet bands from the 20's into the 50's. The hosts educated Brian on the artistry of Ziggy Elman.
If you missed RS&H and wonder who Brian was referring to, here goes. Ziggy Elman (1911-1968) was one of the most fiery, blistering trumpeters of the Swing Era, who brilliantly incorporated his Jewish heritage into his music.
Abraham holding a blue Decca 78, Plaskett holding one from RCA.
October 17 is officially Rhythm, Sweet and Hot day in the State of Pennsylvania, commemorating the show's nearly 35 years on local airwaves.
Mackenzie Carpenter offered an interesting look at the fan clubs of long-deceased pop culture figures, Nelson Eddy & Jeannette McDonald, Doris Day, Ava Gardner, Clayton Moore (the Lone Ranger) and Bing Crosby.
The article made some excellent points, though in Crosby's case, things aren't quite as simple. True, his fan base, especially those who grew up as fans, is fast shrinking. Beyond that, however, Crosby's career remains the subject of substantive study beyond fan clubs, transcending the popularity of "White Christmas" or the "Road" comedies with Bob Hope.
One reason Crosby's appeal transcends fan clubs is his importance to the history of popular music, as important in its day as Sinatra's or Elvis Presley's was later on. The truth is, the young Bing was far more revolutionary at the start than today's view of him as a safe, conservative artist, with a reputation for boozy hellraising at times.
Thinking of Bing as a businessman is a major part of his story. Everyone here knows he was part-owner of the Pirates. Fewer realize he also helped finance (to the tune of $ 50,000 in 1947 dollars) the then-revolutionary multi-track Ampex tape recorders that changed recording in the 1940's until digital came along. Les Paul got one of the first models.
Read on after the jump.