• Music by Meyer Davis Page 2

    Promoting Jazz and Dance Music

    During World War I, the Meyer Davis bands continued to perform at Chevy Chase Lake.  Small advertisements would appear frequently in local papers, often the same small display ad throughout the season.  A dance orchestra regularly played in one of the pavilions, and a jazz orchestra in the other.

    • The Washington Times, June 16, 1916, p. 16.
    • The Washington Times, June 12, 1919, p. 10.
    • The Washington Times, June 3, 1920, p. 13.

    At the end of 1919, in a brief news article in the September 14 issue of The Washington Times, p. 16, the Chevy Chase Lake management claimed that the 1919 season was the most successful since the “present management” had taken over.  This was in spite of closing the amusement park for two days at the request of District Commissioners during the July 1919 race riots in Washington, DC.

    The “Very Jazziest of Jazz Music”

    By 1920, publicity notices for Chevy Chase Lake became more frequent.  For example, The Washington Times published a short, but poetic, notice on p. 20 in the June 13 paper:

    “On the shores of beautiful Chevy Chase Lake are situated two of the best known dance pavilions in or about Washington. Here one can glide smoothly over the highly polished floors of the open air pavilions to the tune of breezy hits played in the individualistic style known as Meyer Davis’ music.”

    And on June 27, on p. 19 of the final edition of The Washington Times:

     “Dancing, which has always been the principle feature at Chevy Chase Lake, is now more popular than ever. The music, the very jazziest of jazz music, is furnished by the Meyer Davis’ orchestra for both of the large open air dance pavilions.”

    The Washington Times, May 23, 1920, p. 20


    Display advertisements echoed this emphasis on jazz – even the very smallest ad included a small figure playing the bass.  According to the July 4 edition of The Washington Times, p. 15, the Chevy Chase Lake management announced that Ernest M. Thompson, an accomplished drummer and employee of the Davis Musical Organization, would direct the orchestras at Chevy Chase Lake that year.  Eight years earlier, Thompson came to Washington specifically to work with Meyer Davis.

    “Capacity for about 2,000 dancers”

    One year later, in 1921, the management promoted a new and expanded lower dance pavilion in a publicity notice on May 29, p. 42, in The Washington Post:

    “The unusual attractions for dance lovers at Chevy Chase Lake should bring several thousand out to the park tomorrow, Memorial Day. The dancing pavilions have room for an almost unlimited number of couples. The new lower pavilion alone, one of the largest and finest floors in this section, has capacity for about 2,000 dancers without seeming crowded.”

    On the next page, read about the special prize nights at Chevy Chase Lake.



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