Take Five

Wed 6 May 2015 - Filed under: Jazz — Christian
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Take a five minute break and listen to some music. Actually, you’ll need more like 15.

Last night ABC’s “World News Tonight” reported on a new documentary on the plight of music in Pakistan. An important topic to be sure, but what does that have to do with us here?

The story recounts a 1962 goodwill trip by Americans to Pakistan, which included First Lady Jackie Kennedy and cultural ambassador Dave Brubeck, who’s been featured on Ivy Style a number of times. (Continue)

Fit As A Fiddle

Wed 18 Feb 2015 - Filed under: Jazz — Christian
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Ivy-Style.com has recovered from a 24-hour server flu. Jump for joy. — CC


The Ivy Style Christmas Mix

Tue 23 Dec 2014 - Filed under: Jazz — Christian
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For this Christmas, Ivy Style founder Christian Chensvold and contributor/comment leaver Daniel C. Greenwood (“DCG”) are pleased to present a little holiday merry-making. We’d planned to just give you one tune, but ended up with four good takes, so consider this Christmas megamix the equivalent of a Joseph A. Bank sweater sale.

Now the disclaimers:

• We’d never jammed before and had trouble coming in on the same beat, hence all the head-bobbing.

• Session was set up so quickly we didn’t even notice the floor lamp was shining directly into the mirror.

• Computer microphone doesn’t pick up the keyboard well, which sounds soft and thin.

 • Daniel had to read the lyrics on his iPhone

• The Spanish brandy was indeed sherry-like as the sales clerk promised, a bit too much so.

• CC’s handkerchief is sticking out; oddly, not for the first time. It will be taken under advisement.

• Yeti needs a bath.

Merry Christmas from Ivy Style! — CC & DCG


Ethan Hawke’s Chet Biopic And Holiday Trumpet Fanfare

Wed 3 Dec 2014 - Filed under: Jazz — Christian
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Last night on “The Jimmy Kimmel Show,” actor Ethan Hawke, whom Tradsville knows for his early role in “Dead Poets Society,” discussed his upcoming Chet Baker biopic.

Unfortunately, as with the long-gestating Miles Davis project headed by Don Cheadle, the film will focus on the jazz musician’s later years, not the years when he would don elements of the Ivy League Look.

I’ve a special fondness for Baker. Not only am I a fan of his music, but he plays a small role in the creation of Ivy-Style.com.

When I interviewed Charlie Davidson of The Andover Shop for the Ralph Lauren Magazine story entiteld “Ivy League Jazz,” which inspired me to found this website, Charlie talked about Chet, whom he befriended and provided with clothing. Later I interviewed Charlie on Chet at length for a piece for The Rake. (Continue)


The Christmas Playlist

Sat 29 Nov 2014 - Filed under: Jazz — Christian
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Since I like to doodle at the piano and believe this to be the most wonderful time of the year, I break out the Christmas sheet music the day after Thanksgiving so I can enjoy a whole month of playing yuletide hymns. Of course the retailers start earlier and earlier, but decorations and music are just annoying until Thanksgiving is over with.

I’ve shared some Christmas music here before, but this year I wondered if I could whittle down my holiday favorites to a top-10 list. It actually wasn’t that hard, so here they are. With one exception, they’re all songs from my childhood.

We begin in the year 1963 in the midst of the Ivy heyday. Jack Jones released what I still consider the best Christmas album ever, though clearly I’m biased as I grew up on it. My parents had it and I was born just three weeks before Christmas, so I was probably hearing this from my first days. There are three lesser-known songs from the album that made my list. Above is “The Village Of St. Bernadette.”  A beautiful and fairly rare tune; I know Andy Williams also recorded it around the same time.

Next we have Jones doing the simple ballad “Lullybye Of Christmas Eve.” This one packs extra potency when it comes to stirring up memories. The ability of music to randomly conjure up memories is fascinating, even more so when a melody brings up things not otherwise connected to it, because the feeling of the melody seems to express the feeling of the memory. Schopenhauer, who called music the queen of the arts, writes about this at length. (Continue)


Soft Shoulder Shuffle By The Hook Vents

Mon 25 Aug 2014 - Filed under: Jazz — Christian
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hvLast week something new shook the foundations of the sedate community of Tradsville — a rockin’ blues band called The Hook Vents.

The coolest thing about the band and their tune “Soft Shoulder Shuffle” is that the musicians were never in the recording studio together. They simply laid down their tracks individuallly and emailed them to the “producer,” who threw it all together and, voila, out came music.

The song was posted on the “Talk Ivy” forum and the virtual band consists of usernames “Zarjazz,” “Worried Man” and “Harpo.”

There are still a few things to work out as the band finds its voice. For example, the name will certainly be obscure for a larger audience (then again, weird, even nonsensical names have never seemed to hurt rock bands). There is also little confusion with the band’s iconography, as they’re called The Hook Vents but their web page is covered in Weejuns.

Congrats to band for this brilliant stroke of originality. Look for them on tour (the campus circuit) with opening act The Undarted.

Below are the lyrics to “Soft Shoulder Shuffle.” — CC

This here’s the soft shoulder shuffle, I do it all the time
The rags I wear may be old, but they’re looking mighty fine

Button down collar with a button in back, when the ladies pass by
They know I’ve really got the knack

Strides pressed and clean and barely touchin’ my shoes
With that Ivy League Look you know you just can’t lose

Herringbone tweed with a 3/2 roll
Come along baby now let’s take a little stroll

If it’s cool outside don’t you worry one bit
Just take my mohair sweater and cuddle up in it

All the cats on the street know there ain’t no other way
Gather round boys, here’s what I have to say

Do the soft shoulder shuffle
(3-2 roll)
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
(It’s good for the soul)
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
Oh yeah
You do the soft shoulder shuffle
(Come on now)
You learn the soft shoulder shuffle and you always be feeling fine

Now all you sloppy dressing silly lookin’ men
Take a lesson from me, ‘cuz I’ll say it once again

You need a flannel suit and a slim knit tie
A hopsack blazer and now you’re really gettin’ by

It’s a stubborn look, just won’t go out of style
If you follow my advice, it’s sure to make you smile

Do the soft shoulder shuffle
(Soft shoulder shuffle)
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
Oh yeah
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
(Herringbone tweed)
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
(All that you need)
You do the soft shoulder shuffle and you always be feelin’ fine

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