[Dixielandjazz] Hot dance

Anton Crouch anton.crouch at optusnet.com.au
Mon Jul 7 23:40:13 PDT 2008

Hello all

Ad hominem discussions can be fun but, occasionally, we need some 

My introduction to the term "hot dance" came in the 1970s, with the
release of LP compilations of dance music which I, at the time,
considered to be marginal to jazz. A definition of the term is difficult
and the best I can do at short notice is to give 2 type examples. Both
are September 1926 recordings of "Half a moon", a hit from the Broadway
musical "Honeymoon Lane".

The first is by Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orchestra (BVE 36352-3, 24
September 1926), with a vocal by Johnny Marvin. It swings well and the
hot element comes from Marvin's scat vocal. The second is by the
Midnight Serenaders (6867-2, September 1926), with a superb hot cornet
solo by Red Nichols.

In print, the term "hot dance" dates from 1924. From the OED:

VARIETY, 9 July 1924, 9/3 "The style in vaudeville jazz bands this
coming season will tend toward the ‘sweet’ and ‘hot’ dance orchestras."

GRAMOPHONE, 1928, VI, 300/2 "It is not a question of ‘hot’ dance music
or ‘straight’ dance music."

The Variety use is ambiguous - I interpret 'sweet and hot dance
orchestras' to mean 'sweet dance orchestras' and 'hot dance orchestras'.
Some will disagree and some may wish to expand on the implications of 
the use of 'vaudeville jazz bands'.

I find the Gramophone use helpful and I don't think that too many people
on this list would have any difficulty in recognising hot dance music
when they hear it.

All the best,

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