Jazz for Me and U (St.)
Before there were chili dogs, vanilla shakes and heartburn, there was U Street Jazz.
You may be thinking, “Hey DP, I didn’t stop by the ole’ bloggity blog for a history lesson,” and to that I say, “did you really just say ‘bloggity blog?'” Think of it like taking a Flintstone vitamin when you were a kid; it’s super fun and good for you at the same time! Only difference is, I can’t supply you with your suggested daily amount of Riboflavin. I wish I could though, that’d be a great ice breaker.
“Psst…I got some Riboflavin. Shhh…stay cool, baby.”
As I was saying, until Harlem surpassed it in the 1920s the U Street corridor was the largest urban African-American community in the United States. Commonly referred to as “Black Broadway,” the neighborhood was home to one of the most impressive jazz scenes in the country. Duke Ellington grew up there. Cab Calloway, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Pearl Bailiey, Nat King Cole…they were all neighborhood regulars. The area fell on hard times after the riots of ’68, but recently (within the past 10 years), U Street has experienced quite a revival. Jazz clubs abound these days, and I set out to capture some of that feel. Of course, I changed my focus to Ben’s Chili Bowl for the project (see original post) but that doesn’t mean I can’t share some of that feel with you, my beloved flock.