...5...4...3...2...1...Swingin' New Year's, ladies and gentlemen!
The champagne is flowing and the music is wailin' here at the Cabaret, for tonight, to celebrate our return to the States and the New Year, we're in America's capital, Washington, DC! But not just anywhere in DC, but in the most wailin', swingin', rockin' place in the District: U-Street! Tonight we're at the famous Cave Club, a caverns-themed spot underground where the city's finest play...and when I say finest tonight I am not kidding. For tonight's special guest is a DC native, the legendary, ingenius, incomparable Duke Ellington!
Duke and his famous orchestra are settin' the Cave on fire here, greeting the New Year as only he can, folks! He started right here in the District playing Ragtime favorites before changing the world with his own breed of Jazz. So many jazz standards are due to him it'd take up too much time to list them all (Take the A-Train and Caravan, to name but two), so we'll just play the song that may well have invented the Swing style: It Don't Mean a Thing (if it Ain't Got that Swing):
Yes, folks! That's from '31...two years before Swing Music even had a name. Talk about trend setters!
And for New Years, naturally we're having champagne, but with a cocktail twist: the famous (if uninspiringly named) Champagne Cocktail:
- Spiral rind of one Lemon
- 1 cube sugar
- 2 dashes Bitters
In a 6 oz champagne flute place sugar cube in bottom and saturate it with bitters. Add champagne to near rim of glass. Garnish with lemon spiral.
Happy New Year, everyone!
Post Script: good news Dieselpunks and other Jazz and Swing afficionados: U-Street in DC is alive and well today! It had a renaissance starting in the early 00's and is once again becoming the city's Mecca for Jazz and Blues. Even the historic Cave Club is alive and well at its original location with original decor, now called Bohemian Caverns.