Adding a theme to your jazz or blues party can make it a more memorable experience. A theme can also allow you to focus on a smaller variety of decorations, food and drinks. Since jazz and blues music rely heavily on improvisation and the soul of the artist, you should pick a theme that reflects your own passion for jazz or blues music.
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Play New Orleans-style jazz, which is upbeat and features heavy horn arrangements. You can also play Dixieland blues. Decorate with bright colours; traditional Mardi Gras colours are purple, yellow and gold but you can use any colours that are bright, festive and full of joie de vivre. Give out beads and masks as party favours, or use them as centrepieces on tables along with gold doubloons. Serve a King Cake as part of the celebration. This is a traditional Mardi Gras cake with a prize baked into it. The guest who finds the prize inside of the cake should receive a special treat.
During the 1940s the United Service Organizations, or USO, played a pivotal role in welcoming servicemen and women home from overseas. To reintroduce the troops to society, the USO would throw parties in community centres and concert halls. Play swing-style jazz and big band blues like Glen Miller at USO-themed parties. Decorations should include red, white and blue with American flags. You can also incorporate U.S. wartime propaganda posters like "Rosie the Riveter" or "Uncle Sam Wants You." Food should be simple: lots of hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, soda and domestic beer.
In the 1920s jazz and blues had worked their way out of the back rooms of bars and into the mainstream. Both genres were popular among the flappers and partygoers of the day. Play music of artists who represent the era: Mamie Smith, Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, and Bessie Smith were all popular jazz and blues artists of the day. Vaudeville-style blues songs like The Charleston were also popular. Decorate using black, white and sparkles to recreate the look of a speakeasy. Use Chinese lanterns and votive candles on the tables to provide light and atmosphere. Ask guests to come in costume, men in suits with wide ties and hats; women in flapper-style dresses with long pearls and headbands with feathers.
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