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  • Jazz Appreciation Month, April Fools and Your Weekend Tiki Cocktail, The Stinger

    Posted on April 2nd, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments
    Duke Ellington's Orchestra

    Duke Ellington's Orchestra

    Here ye, Here ye, utmost Jazz-appreciating hipsters and hipsterettes; knock your lobes to the groove I’m layin’ down on you, as this is

    Jazz Appreciation Month,

    The 30 days on the calendar when you can truly appreciate good music.

    Huh?

    Ok, what we’ve really got here is a month dedicated to all the swingin’ kats, past and present, who’ve taken a tune and bent it into one of America’s true original styles of music. It’s to remind us of some of the great tunes and players we may have forgotten, and to let the younger kids get hip to the swing…because as the Master himself said, It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.

    The Stinger

    The Stinger

    To go along with your appreciation of Jazz, here’s one of the cocktails I find to be perfect to sip tunes by.

    The Stinger.

    Short and to the point. Not a fancy Tiki cocktail, not a pretentious apple Martini, just..The Stinger.

    1 1/2 oz good quality Brandy (I prefer Courvoisier)
    1/2 oz White Creme de Menthe

    This seems simple but like all true cocktails, it must be built with care. Too much Brandy and it will taste dull and lifeless. Too much Creme de Methe and you’ll have a sickeningly sweet drink that tastes like a candy cane. Don’t use Green Creme de Menthe…that’s for Grasshoppers and ice cream parfaits.

    This is the wrong kind of stinger.

    This is the wrong kind of stinger.

    Add the booze to a shaker with ice and shake. Serve straight up in an old fashioned glass, or on the rocks (I prefer rocks). No garnish. This is the kind of drink you sip when sitting in a basement bar in the Village, listening to some kats wailing on a pipehorn or banging the keys to some smooth, east coast Jazz. Asking for a Courvoisier Stinger in a jazz club like that will get you a lot of respect from the bartender and a real shot at the brunette with the peakaboo haircut and the four inch stilettos (assuming you travel in a time machine back to 1955).

    More Jazz

    When I first started this B-Lounge I added a Jazz 101 page for kats and kittens who wanted to learn a little more about the greatest music on Earth, but didn’t know where to start. Check it out just for fun here. There’s also a suggested playlist of some of the greatest jazz and swing tunes ever recorded…not a comprehensive list by any means, but a good start for people who want to dig it.

    Peter Gunn, 1957

    Peter Gunn, 1957

    I’ll post a few spotlights on Jazz musicians this month, so stay tuned, kids.

    -Tiki “Zoot” Pinto reporting from the sound booth at Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar, Florida

  • Peter Gunn, The Series 1958-1961 – A New Twist on Mod Movie Monday

    Posted on May 2nd, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment

    Peter Gunn is available on DVD, ya dig?

    Peter Gunn is available on DVD, ya dig?

    (Cue mid-tempo jazz bassline)
    Lay back kats, and knock your swingin’ lobes to the riffs I’m layin’ down before thee; as this week we dance to the tune of a different bongo-ist, take a beat off the beaten path and give Mod Movie Monday a little twist – a foray into the land of the groove tube, the noise box, the all-mighty television. This week I present to you for your hippest approval, that hippest of hip private dicks,

    Peter Gunn

    Starring Lola Albright, Hershel Bernardi, and the inimitable Craig Stevens as the swingin’ gumshoe Gunn.mod-movie-mondays

    There has never been, nor shall there ever be an equally jazzy, kool and quintessentially hip cop show on the airwaves. From the opening, pre-credit crime scene with swingin’ background bass and eerie horns, to the slick late ’50s ragtop that Gunn motorvated around in, to the sultriest if sultry atomic blonde bombshells Edie Hart as the jazz joint’s singer, Peter Gunn just oozes with dark kool.

    Craig Stevens and Lara Albright

    Craig Stevens and Lola Albright

    Imagine a cop show where the PI is a tough, good-looking Rat-Pack-era swinger who’s always in total control, even when he pushes the line between legit and vigilante. Instead of driving a cop sedan, he drives a sleek convertible. He dresses sharp and hangs out at a jazz club with the musicians and has a thing going with the smokin’ girl singer, a swingin’ chick if ever there was one. Throw on top of that the fact that he’s a damned good detective, and his notoriety helps him gain the potatoes he needs to lead his swingin’ lifestyle, and you’ve got the makings of one hell of a TV series – good enough to last 114 episodes.

    Thanks to our pal Blake Edwards, the style of the show holds up 50 years later. A Noir undertone driven by a jazz beat and purposely subtle acting, Peter Gunn is considered one of the best stylistic TV dramas of the time.

    The Jazz, man, it’s all about that swingin’ background jazz, the musical soundtrack that very often came out of the background and coolly slid into the spotlight whenever Gunn entered Mother’s Jazz Club on the waterfront. Several scenes featured the hipster musicians getting in the groove with their sexy singer, Edie, riffing out tunes by Henry Mancini, played in the style of The Modern Jazz Quintet and Dave Brubeck. Peter Gunn is credited as being

    Peter Gunn, 1957

    Peter Gunn Album, 1958

    the first TV show to have a custom designed soundtrack (all others used stock music up until then), and the resulting Peter Gunn album stayed at #1 on the charts for 10 weeks (and is still a best seller today). That unforgettable theme has been used so many times since then that even kids who never heard of the show know that krazy piano intro and those blaring horns. Oh, and by the by…that piano intro…was originally played by another kat you may have heard of, a young pup by the name of John Williams.

    Style aside, the series was ahead of its time in the ’50s, and still holds up as great to watch today. The crimes were never sugar-coated…murder, drugs, all of it right out there lightened only by an occasionally funny hipster character who was so way out there you had to chuckle. In my opinion, the only thing that would have made this show better was if they didn’t have to squeeze it into a half hour. An hour would have done it much more justice.

    Splash Screen before and after commericals, Petet Gunn

    Splash Screen before and after commericals, Peter Gunn

    And what beat-era libations and repast doth thou deal out during said performance? ’50s hipsters were all about trying new things…which of course, are now old things. Maybe some cucumber sandwiches, with sour cream/dill dipping sauce. Maybe some mini spinach quiches wrapped in bacon. Pretzel rods with mustard. Finger sandwiches of smoked oysters or salmon spread. Kooky stuff like that. Serve Port, or Sambucca, or Galliano over the rocks. Or if you can get your hands on it, Absinth. Top it off with fresh pineapple, mango and coconut over vanilla ice cream for dessert. And don’t forget to smoke a pack of Camels before the show ends, dig?