Eric Felten at Glen Echo Eric Felten
Hi Lindy Hoppers!!!
Tribute to Duke Ellington
The Eric Felten Orchestra
The Eric Felten Orchestra

Wednesday April 28, 1999

We were at the Celbration of Duke Ellington's Birthday at Glen Echo. We had a blast --- and our reviewers concur:

From: Elizabeth Engel

Duke Ellington's 100th with the Eric Felton Orchestra at Glen Echo WOW! This is the first time I've ever gotten to hear the EFO and I was totally blown away. They had an incredible two-set program of Duke Ellington music, chronicling the Duke's outstanding career and songbook. They played his well known tunes (Wham Re bop, Duke's Place, A Train) and many lesser-known chestnuts as well. The tunes generally ranged from medium-slow to medium-fast, with a few outliers on either end to allow us all to practice our smooth, sexy moves and our Balboa.

We did a shim sham to a Duke tune facing the band which was great fun, the Flycats did a terrific routine to a great Chick Webb number (according to their intro, Webb was one of Ellington's major influences) which means we all got to dance with them too, we got together a huge line of tandem Balboa at one point, I danced to just about every tune with so many fellas, some of whom I only see at Glen Echo, the wedgies got their first full evening's wearing (and the verdict is a resounding thumbs up), Eric himself sang a couple of numbers (and he has a lovely voice), and the music was just amazing, drawn from the Duke's early swing years.

Happy Birthday, Duke! DC loves and misses you still!

Meredith and Sean
Meredith and Sean

From: Sue Fedor

Lizzie Hess and I arrived at Glen Echo for the last three songs from the Chantilly High School Jazz Band. Boy were these kids hot! They played that bane of many a band, "Sing, Sing, Sing" and many a full grown drummer should take a cue from the CHS drummer: STAY ON THE BEAT! He kept the beat and kept it true....even throwing a few solos in. They played their hearts out and we screamed and clapped and stamped for an encore. After appologies to Eric Felton, the band kicked into "In the Mood".

I think this was an appropriate way to kick off a wonderful birthday celebration for Duke Ellington. He was forced by his mother to take piano lessons when he was a kid and when he was a teen, he was hanging out on U Street catching the jazz greats and forging his future. I'm sure he would have been pleased to see these youngsters carrying on the tradition--on the bandstand and on the dance floor.

Eric (Babyface) Felton took over for the next three sets with an all-Ellington program. It was amazing to me how diverse the songs were. Some fast enough to do balboa--and Frank started the Multiple-Tandem -Balboa line, which I'm sure he will describe in great detail. Some, like "The Mooch" were the kind that make you snuggle up to your sweetie. My sweetie had to work late, so I got to dance with all the guys! Thanks, boys! You're all terrific...but the prize goes to my all time favorite, Ray Keaney, who's back on the dance floor after a long chronic injury.

Little known fact about Eric Felton....he's a reporter for some local news agency and has frequented the C-SPAN Morning Show. We declined to ask him the latest news on Kosovo, however.

It was an old-fashioned Glen Echo night. The floor was well populated, but not crowded. The crowd came to dance, not observe, which was nice. Despite a shortage of guys at the beginning, the boys kept the rotation going and the girls got plenty of dances in. AND THE SHIM SHAM WENT ALL THE WAY TO THE BACK OF THE BALLROOM! I've never seen such full participation in a shim sham.

[Editor's Note: At the urging of (and with the approval of) Maxie Dorf, we have created a Balboa "Line" dance called "Multiple Tandem Balboa" --- click the hyperlink for all the directions.]

Carole Berghers and Calvin
Carole Berghers and Calvin Ruffin
The Famous Calvin Ruffin

Calvin Ruffin is the authority on 1940s fashion. He will be glad to make you a thoroughly authentic suit for somewhere in the neighborhood of $1200. Tonight, Calvin showed up in an impeccable Drape Suit of his own creation. This guy really has the touch. If money is no object, you really need to see Calvin --- contact him at (301)-598-3675

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