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Abe Lyman and his Orchestra

fri 31 may 2024
Theme: Jazz

Classic Jazz – Saturday 1 June 16:00 CET
It is the evening of April 1 1922 and 1,500 guests are in the Cocoanut Grove, the nightclub of the luxurious Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. The hotel is a high society location – heads of state and celebrities are among its clientele. Another 500 guests are sitting outside. All this interest is focused on a band making its debut on stage: drummer Abe Lyman’s orchestra! The band will remain the resident orchestra for the next five years.

Record labels started taking interest. This resulted in hundreds of recordings for Brunswick alone. The orchestra also performed in films and created soundtracks for cartoons. Abe Lyman cleverly responded to the changes in musical styles from the 1920s to the 1940s. Charlie Chaplin worked twice as a guest conductor, conducting his own pieces. They were one of the few dance orchestras from LA in the 1920s and managed to achieve national fame, all the way to the East Coast. In 1929 they even went on a European tour.

The perfect interplay – the high degree of groupiness – was one of the qualities of the orchestra. Their arrangements revealed beautiful timbre oppositions between the different groups of instruments. A unique quality was added by the individual soloists. Using special techniques they created sounds that continued to surprise.

Shake That Thing is the spicy opening of this programme, and the piece ends in a thrilling finale. It was one of the hits in Lyman’s oeuvre. The text “shake that thing” also takes on a vocal form. What thing is being referred to? That’s up to the listener to decide.

The next track is Those Longing For You Blues and it begins with a chromatic decline in the ensemble above which the soloist is performing – a figure that seems to have no end. This is repeated later in the piece. Programme maker Ate van Delden characterises this piece as “pure hot playing in the very best New Orleans tradition.”

A well-known military horn signal is one of the musical features in Bugle Call Rag. This call is repeated by various solo instruments and is also played in polyphonic form by a group of instruments.
And so each piece has its own character.

The full playlist is in the Guide.

Classic Jazz – a programme by Ate van Delden