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Swingin’ The Blues: Christmas Eve 2023 Special Programming

Ben Young December 24, 2023

On Christmas Eve 2023, Professor Ben Young presented From Spirituals to Swing, which was originally held at Carnegie Hall in 1938. This special presentation includes the story of a remarkable concert concept from the Swing Era; the premise of which was to celebrate artists representing the stylistic breadth and richness of African-American music—which was at that time largely absent from Carnegie and concert stages in general. Folk and gospel performers from the Carolinas shared the stage with blues voices of the Deep South, Boogie-woogie piano styles of the Midwest, and the roar of Big Band swing in the Kansas City style.

In this on-demand podcast, you’ll hear the story of how the concert came together, how it unfolded onstage, and how its thriving success led to a sequel the next year. Plus, you’ll get to hear the recorded sounds of music from both the 1938 and 1939 From Spirituals to Swing events: Music by Count Basie, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Sonny Terry, Sidney Bechet, Big Joe Turner, the Golden Gate Quartet, and even Benny Goodman.

It’s a delightful and fascinating listening experience, especially during the cold winter months!

With thanks to host & archivist Ben Young and Production Manager Michelle Willson for producing this special. 

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