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Jazz Music and Film Clips
Few live film recordings were made in jazz clubs in the 1920s. The low lighting, part of a seductive atmosphere key to the experience, made filming difficult. This was also true of live performance as seen in the rare clip of Josephine Baker dancing. The jazz selection here includes Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington, both popular during the 1920s but seen in film clips made slightly later. Studio films started taking a modern attitude before “talkies” emerged in 1927 with “The Jazz Singer” starring Al Jolson. However the film was not advanced enough to have an African American star; Jolson was white and played the role in “blackface.” Clip 1: “Long About Midnight”, 1932; Performed by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra; Lyrics by Alexander Hill (American, 1906‒1937) and Irving Mills (American, 1894‒1985) Clip 2: “Stormy Weather” featured in the movie short “Bundle of Blues,” 1933; Performed by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra; Vocals by Ivie Anderson (American, 1905‒1949); Lyrics by Harold Alden (American, 1905‒1986) and Ted Koehler (American, 1894‒1973); Film produced by Paramount Pictures and directed by Adolph Zucker (American, 1873‒1976) Clip 3: “Flamingo”, 1941; Performed by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra; Vocals by Herb Jefferies (American, 1913‒2014); Lyrics by Edmund Anderson (American, 1912‒2002); Music by Theodore Grouya (American, born Bucharest, 1910-2000); Film produced by R.C.M. Productions Clip 4: “The Joint is Jumpin’,” ca. 1941; Performed by Fats Waller (American, 1904‒1943) Clip 5: “Shine”, 1942; Performed by Louis Armstrong and His Band; Lyrics by Cecil Mack (American, 1873‒1944) and Lew Brown (American, 1893‒1958); Music by Ford Dabney (American , 1883‒1958); Directed by Josef Berne (American, born Russia, 1904‒1964); Film produced by R.C.M. Productions and Sam Coslow (American, 1902‒1982) Clip 6: "St. Louis Blues”, 1929; Performed by Bessie Smith (American, 1894‒1937); Musical arrangements by W.C. Handy (American, 1873‒1958) and Rosamund Johnson (American, 1873‒1954); Film produced by Sack Attractions Clip 7: “Enchantment”, 1921; Directed by Robert G. Vignola (American, born Italy, 1882‒1953); Starring Marion Davies (American, 1897‒1951); Set design by Joseph Urban (American, born Austria, 1872‒1933); Produced by William Randolph Hearst’s Cosmopolitan Pictures Clip 8: Banana Dance, 1927‒31; Performed by Josephine Baker (French, born United States, 1906‒1975)
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11 min 49 sec
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Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum