If you haven't heard of Fred Astaire, well, you have no indie cred, friend. He's the hottest new thing out of Brooklyn, been getting a lot of buzz on the blogs, and I hear labels are lining up to produce and distribute the upcoming album. Oh, wait - sike.
Anyway, this guy could dance, and he could sing, and while I'm actually quite ignorant of his history, discography, filmography, and so on, I know I have a few songs of his. Whether they're from early 30s talkies or actual releases I don't know, but they have a great, warm sound and the guy has an absolutely classic voice. I wish I had more music like this, and I wish you guys would tell me what to look up. Feel free to leave any recommendations you have on other prewar piano jazz and dance masters.
Here are "Steppin' Out With My Baby"
and "Putting On the Ritz," by Fred Astaire.
They're kind of low quality, but what did you expect? These mp3s were encoded onto punch cards by Enigma machines in the 40's. They didn't even have bytes then, they had to use stacks of bits.
[edit: thanks for the suggestions below - also check out "Footlight Parade" with James Cagney. Got to see it on the big screen - more showtuney but still awesome]