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The Jazz Connection

The 1970s saw the beginning of jazz’s influence on contra with Rodney Miller’s “Airplang” recordings. Improvisation and instrumental interplay are the result, but the shape for the dance remains.

Airplang II

Contra dance music with Rodney Miller - airplang

CD - $15

Hear Clip From Track #12

Rodney Miller and Friends

The evolution continues! Here's the 1987 sequel to Airplang by Rodney Miller and friends. Three stellar musicians, Rodney Miller- fiddle, Peter Barnes- piano and John McGann- guitar continue to advance the contra genre. There are lots of traditional tunes here but traditional doesn't necessarily mean old fashioned. Their music is highly creative without being gimmicky and it stays true to the roots of the dance. This powerful and expressive music takes you on an adventure to which you will return to time and again. The Randy Miller tune, Tour of Scottland is a knockout!

  1. The Cliffs of Moher, Gold Ring, Hullican's Jig
  2. Leather Britches, Miller's Reel
  3. Pincushion Polka
  4. Bluemont Waltz
  5. The Bain's Welcome to Dublin, Mains of Gartley, Pull Down Your Vest
  6. Rochester Schottische, Shelbourne Reel, The Baker
  7. Swimming in the Gutter, King's Favorite, Munster Lass
  8. Denver Belle, Indian Killed a Woodcock
  9. High Level Hornpipe
  10. Cattle in the Cane
  11. The Irma Waltz
  12. Tour of Scotland

Rodney Miller, Peter Barnes, John McGann, 2000

Total Time 43:44

Big Bandemonium

Who would have thought a big band could play contra music? Lise Brown from Greenfield, MA has brought together a group of outstanding New England musicians made them into a tight team. Three fiddles, horns and rhythm work as a unit. The arrangements are great, danceable, varied and exciting. This is a CD which you will listen to often.

  1. Evil Diane
  2. Ms. Monaghan's, Rare
  3. Fading Light, Joy of My Life
  4. Flying Tent
  5. When Johnny Comes Marching Home
  6. Reel Saint-Antoine
  7. The Growling Old Man and the Cackling Old Woman / Eliyaha Hanavi / The Big Bang
  8. Indian Point, Coming Dawn
  9. Evergreen

Van Kaynor, Dave Langford, Becky Tracy, Lise Brown, Brian Bender, Adam Scotera, Peter Barnes, Keith Murphy, Corey DiMario

Nat Hewitt and the Reckless Ramblers

Nat Hewitt is from Nelson, NH where the Nelson Town Hall has hosted contra dances for over 200 years. Lowdown Hoedown is exciting contra music that shows that you don't have to have piano to play good contra. Nat plays fiddle and guitar and with Larry and Sam all on strings, together they make unbelievable music. Larry Unger's tune, Door Country #2, is one of my favorites.

  1. Fatal Bert, Bogan's, Baker's Favorite
  2. The Judge
  3. That Sultry Waltz
  4. Lowdown Hoedown, Elzic's Farewell
  5. Glen Echo Jig, Robin's Bodhran, Thingama
  6. The Brunt Leg, The Long Campaign
  7. Steve and Bettie
  8. Door County #2, Sweetbriar
  9. Paddy on the Internet
  10. The Slippery Jig, The Green Reel
  11. La Gima Polka
  12. Cumberland
  13. Lad O'Beirne's. The Phone Call

Larry Unger, Nat Hewitt, Ginny Stowe and Sam Bartlett


Elixir blends driving fiddle and guitar with the rich texture and rhythmic excitement of a full horn section. Elixir performs tightly crafted music drawing on a wide range of styles and evoking a variety of moods. Elegant melodies, Dixieland horn riffs, and playful improvisations combine with traditional and original Irish, French Canadian and New England tunes, all with a solid dance beat.

  • Dance Around
  • Ring of Kohala
  • Chicago
  • Calamity
  • Bird in the Bush
  • Jehovahs Retreat
  • Dongo
  • I Don't Know Why
  • Abe's Retreat
  • Rambling Pitchfork
  • Montreal
  • Hope
  • Red Star Line

Ethan Hazzard-Watkins, Anna Patton, Nils Fredland, Jesse Hazzard-Watkins, Owen Morrison, Will Patton (guest) 2008

Order contra dance music by Wild Asparagus

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