The Cafe Rouge

Picture of the Cafe Rouge

The Cafe Rouge itself was in the Hotel Pennsylvania in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.  During the height of The Big Band Era it was one of the hottest places to be, and to play.  So many bands performed there including Count Basie, Woody Herman, The Dorsey Brothers, Duke Ellington, The Andrews Sisters and Glenn Miller. The bandstand was a very nice size for an inside venue and the dance floor was simply huge.  Can you just imagine that floor just packed with jitterbugs dancing all night long?  Everyone loved the place! Glenn Miller enjoyed playing there so much that he even recorded a song about it.  Pennslvania 6-5000 was actually the phone number of the Hotel Pennsylvania.

A large amount of tables surrounded the dance floor.  You could sit and have a meal or just enjoy a bunch of drinks.  The ceiling was 22 feet from the floor and was the main reason the Cafe Rouge had such great acoustics. That feature alone made the venue such a great place to perform simply because the music would sound so darn good. 

Picture of Cafe Rouge Card

 The NBC Radio Network had a remote connection set up so they could broadcast shows live on the radio.  This is where many of those fantastic live recordings I play on The Big Band and Swing Podcast, come from.  Remember, the sound equipment at that time wasn't like it is today.  There were just a few microphones strategically placed here and there to capture the audio portion of the performances.  So a place like The Cafe Rouge, that just naturally sounded good, had good reverb, was the perfect type of place to broadcast shows.

If this topic interests you, I will be taking podcast listeners back in time to visit the famous Cafe Rouge.  I will also play a few great performances that took place there as well.  All of that goodness can be found on The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Episode 72.  That episode is scheduled for release on July 30th, so if you have a chance, be sure to check it out!

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