Bennie Moten (Nov. 13, 1894 – April 2, 1935) was a fine ragtime-oriented pianist who led the top territory band of the 1920s, an orchestra that really set the standard for Kansas City jazz.
Moten formed his group (originally a sextet) in 1922 and in 1923, they made their first recordings.
During 1926-1932, Moten's Orchestra recorded for Victor and, although none of his original musicians became famous, the later additions included his brother Buster Moten on occasional jazz accordion, Harlan Leonard, Jack Washington, Eddie Durham, Jimmy Rushing, Hot Lips Page, and (starting in 1929) Count Basie.
The most famous Bennie Moten recording session was also his last one, ten songs cut on December 13, 1932 that found the ensemble strongly resembling Basie's five years later. The band at that point also starred Ben Webster, Eddie Barefield, and Walter Page and one of the high points was the debut of “Moten Swing” (or “Moten's Swing”).
Bennie Moten tragically died in 1935 after a unsuccessful tonsillectomy operation. Many of its top members (including Lester Young) eventually became members of Count Basie's newly formed orchestra.
There are many versions of “Moten Swing” out there, most of them just have the main melody line and not the more complex structure of this recording. Not an easy track to dance to.
By the way, check out “Harlem” (Song of the Week #120), there's a remarkable resemblance…
[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”B005K8JJMM” locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41MBXuGzbwL._SL160_.jpg” width=”160″]Title: [easyazon-link asin=”B005K8JJPY” locale=”us”]Moten Swing[/easyazon-link]
Artist: Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra
Album: [easyazon-link asin=”B005K8JJMM” locale=”us”]Stomp and Swing[/easyazon-link]
Tempo: 202 bpm
Click the link to download the song at
iTunes CH/EU ･ iTunes US ･ [easyazon-link asin=”B0026XC85O” locale=”de”]Amazon.de[/easyazon-link] ･ [easyazon-link asin=”B005K8JJPY” locale=”us”]A'zon.com[/easyazon-link] ･ [easyazon-link asin=”B0026GTCM8″ locale=”uk”]A'zon.co.uk[/easyazon-link] ･ emusic
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Every Monday, I post a new “Song of the Week“.
You can find the songs also on my Spotify playlist or on 8tracks.
Song of the Week #134: “I Ain't Got Nobody” by Lew Stone
Song of the Week #133: “I Found A New Baby” by Tiny Grimes
Song of the Week #132: “Hummin’ To Myself” by The Rhythm Washboard Kings
Song of the Week #131: “Tabby The Cat” by Anita O'Day w/ Stan Kenton & His Orchestra
Song of the Week #130: “Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue” by Duke Ellington