I love the jazz of the Roaring Twenties, but my enjoyment is usually restricted to digitally restored recordings from private collectors and admirers of such stalwarts as Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke. One rarely hears those old standards of the era performed live, but Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra not only dust off some tunes that I like, but they can handle the standards, the ballads, and the hot jazz with equal aplomb.
Arenella and his band have been hosting the Jazz-Age Lawn Party for 6 years now, and I thought it was high time I made my way out to Governors Island to enjoy a day of hot jazz, cool cocktails, dazzling dandies, and flirtatious flappers.
I wasn't disappointed. Dressed in a navy blue Borrelli blazer with tan buttons, cream linen slacks, tan socks with light brown polka dots, brown and white Edward Green for RLPL spectators, a light blue shirt with white collar and cuffs shirt from Turnbull and Asser (with matching pocket square from T&A), striped brown/cream/navy blue Luciano Barbera tie, and vintage silver cuff links (with an actual link), I was happily surprised to find that a good portion of the spectators were also done up for the day despite temperatures in the high 80s. Unfortunately, I forgot my vintage Brooks Brothers straw boater in the car, but my Swaine Adeney & Brigg golf umbrella came in handy as the sun settled in over the island.
Michael Aranella and His Dreamland Orchestra in action.
The band was swinging, and the horn player knew his way around a Beiderbecke solo.
You don't often see the action-back jacket anymore, but it's still a sight to see. This jacket had the pleated edge along the shoulder seam and at the bottom along the belted waist, with a center vent between the pleating. I believe the front pockets on the jacket were also center vented. That is old-school right there.
A choreographed dance routine highlighting some of the wild dance numbers of the jazz era.
Some of the true-to-the-era outfits on display by some of the spectators.
All in all, it was a wonderful day - the music was great, the vintage dances were fun to watch, and the prohibition-era cocktails were fantastic. I'm already looking forward to next year's party!