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From The Jitterbug to The Dougie

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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Since Cab Calloway recorded the “Call of the Jitterbug” in 1935, the term has been closely tied to acrobatic dances like Lindy Hop and swing. Today, Soundcheck’s dance craze series continues with Chris Calloway Brooks - the grandson of the hep cat himself. Plus, we examine the deep African-American roots of American social dances. And, a live performance from a group that blends klezmer, hip hop and funk: Abraham Inc.

Dance Craze: The Jitterbug

The word's roots go back to the early 20th century slang for alcoholics who suffered from tremors - but the "jitterbug" truly caught hold when bandleader Cab Calloway starred in the short film "Cab Calloway's Jitterbug Party" in 1935. Since then, the term has been associated with dances like Lindy Hop and swing - and even developed into its own dance craze. Today, we look back at the acrobatic moves of the 1930s and ‘40s with Chris Calloway Brooks - grandson of Cab Calloway and leader of the modern-day Cab Calloway Orchestra.

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Dance Craze: Black Roots

From the Charleston to the Dougie, popular dances in the U.S. are often rooted in African American social dances – some that stretch all the way back to times of slavery. Professional dancer, writer and historian Thomas DeFrantz joins us to talk about the echoes of black history evident in 20th century dance crazes. 

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Abraham Inc: In Studio

A Canadian DJ, a klezmer clarinetist, and James Brown’s trombonist walk into a bar… and what sounds like the beginning of a bad joke turns into Abraham Inc, a high-octane blend of klezmer, hip hop and funk. DJ Socalled, David Krakauer, Fred Wesley and their band join us for a live performance.  

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Gig Alert: Lower Dens

The Baltimore indie-rock outfit Lower Dens celebrates the release of its sophomore album at Mercury Lounge on Tuesday night. Download the record's lead single, "Brains."

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