Here at Pearl Modern, we have been getting feisty from the heat and it put us in the mood to listen to a lot of swinging jazz. We figure, if you're going to sweat anyway, you might as well dance! We flipped through stacks and stacks of records and have discovered many lively tunes to share with you. But, to start out the evening on the right note, here is a sunny, bubbly cocktail inspired by warm nights and dancing in the city - guaranteed to lighten the mood.
Cocktail Of The Week - "The Swingin' Tangerine"
1 oz triple sec
1 oz tequila
1 oz light rum
1 oz vodka
1 oz gin
2 oz fresh squeezed juice from one tangerine
4 oz Orangina
a splash of lime juice
one lime, sliced for garnish
combine all liquid ingredients in pitcher and stir
fill highball glasses halfway with ice
pour mixture over ice
garnish with slices of lime
Swing is a wide-ranging genre that had international appeal from roughly the 1930s up until the early 1960s. We love the glamour associated with the big band era. The fashion was sassy and extravagant. The musicians in the orchestras looked so dapper in their matching tuxedos. The great dance halls and supper clubs like the El Morocco and the Copacabana were palaces devoted to all things fabulous. The beautiful and handsome dined on oysters and caviar, sipping on cocktails with witty names, all while dancing the night away.
Paris was swinging in 1937. Women were wearing fabulous couturier frocks by Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and Jeanne Lanvin. Life was fast paced and decadent. Below is a montage of Parisienne life in 1937 accompanied by a perfect early swing tune entitled "The Sheik of Araby" played by the quintet of The Hot Club of France with Django Reinhardt on guitar and Stéphane Grapelli playing violin.
Fred Astaire was absolutely amazing, one of the greatest entertainers of his generation. Below is a clip of what many consider to be the greatest tap scene of all time, from the 1940 film "Broadway Melody of 1940". Fred Astaire and the incredible Eleanor Powell dance to the wonderful standard "Begin the Beguine".
Below is a wonderful clip of Eleanor Powell performing a dance number in her nightclub act, accompanied by a swingin' tune.
Next, we have a great song entitled "The Wonder of You" sung by Kitty Kallen with music by Harry James and His Orchestra from 1945. Kitty Kallen looks like the perfect rockabilly chick singing this song.
Keely Smith was an incredible song stylist who performed with her husband, the great bandleader Louis Prima. She had an amazing voice and a fantastic look.
The next clip is of Keely Smith performing the song "All Night Long" with Louis Prima in 1956.
The always glamorous and sultry Ava Gardner was married to two big band and musical giants, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra. Isn't this dress fabulous?
And now, another musical interlude from the wonderful singer Anita O'Day, singing the classic "Take the A-Train" from 1958.
Lucille Ball had it all! She could act, sing and make us fall over in laughter. Most people know her for her hilarious, often self-deprecating comedy in "I Love Lucy", but she was also terrifically glamorous and chic. Below we have a clip of her combining all of her talents, performing "Jitterbug Bite" from the 1940s.
We will close with an incredibly campy and awesome swingin' Bollywood song and dance number from the 1965 movie "Gumnaam". The accompanying music is from the 1959 movie "Love Marriage" by the famous Indian composer Shankar Jaikishan. A true classic.