Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
September 27, 1996
Library of Congress Presents Jazz Film Series
Jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald and Gerry Mulligan are among the musicians who will be highlighted in a free series of rarely seen jazz films and videos to be shown from October through December at the Library of Congress.
The jazz film series will feature all styles of jazz, from Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke to John Coltrane and Don Cherry, with each program to be hosted by some of the nation's top jazz musicians, scholars and critics. It is curated by Larry Appelbaum, senior studio engineer in the Library's Recorded Sound Section. Mr. Appelbaum lectures frequently on jazz and is the longtime radio host of WPFW's Sunday evening program "Sound of Surprise."
Kicking off the series on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. will be an evening devoted to the late Ella Fitzgerald. Rare footage of the singer with Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman will be introduced by special guests, U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. (Michigan) and Keter Betts, who was Ms. Fitzgerald's bass player for 20 years.
On Monday, Nov. 18, the series will feature the Washington premiere of a 1996 documentary on saxophonist, composer and arranger, Gerry Mulligan. The film, directed by Thor Raxlen, was commissioned by the Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund in the Library of Congress. It will be introduced by Jon Newsom, acting chief of the Library's Music Division.
Many of the films and videos in the series have seldom been seen by the public. Some are early television broadcasts from the 1950s and 1960s from the NBC, CBS and NET (National Educational Television) networks, which have been archived and preserved by the Library's Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.
The full program for the series follows:
"Ella Fitzgerald," introduced by Rep. John Conyers and Keter Betts. Films/videos include: "Bell Telephone Hour" (NBC, 1959); "A Man & His Music -- Ella & Jobim" (Sinatra Enterprises/Bristol Productions, 1967); "Duke Ellington at the Cote d'Azure" (NET, 1966); "Swing into Spring" (NBC, 1958); "The Golden Classics of Jazz: Ella Fitzgerald in Concert" (All-Star Video Corp., 1980); and "Essence" (Essence Television Productions Inc., 1986).
"The Subject Is Jazz: Blues" (NBC, 1958), introduced by Dan Morgenstern, Director of the Institute for Jazz Studies at Rutgers University. Other films on the evening's program are "The Story of a Jazz Musician" (Wolper Productions, 1962) and "Jazz -- The Intimate Art" (Drew Associates/The Bell System, 1968).
"Bix Beiderbecke" introduced by David Sager, a jazz trombonist and playback technician in the Library's Recorded Sound Section. Brigitte Berman's superb 1981 documentary, "Bix-`Ain't None of Them Play Like Him Yet,'" traces the musical legacy and the self- destructive lifestyle of legendary cornetist Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke (1903-1931), whose melodic, "cool" solos on records with Frankie Trumbauer and Jean Goldkette pointed the way toward stylistic descendants Miles Davis and Chet Baker.
"All Night Long" (The Rank Organization Film Productions Ltd., 1962) will be introduced by Krin Gabbard, chairman of the Department of Comparative Literature at SUNY Stonybrook and author of Jammin' at the Margins -- Jazz and the American Cinema (University of Chicago Press, 1996). This British feature updates the Othello story with a modern interracial couple, a white singer and a black bandleader. Music includes on-screen appearances by Charles Mingus, Harry Beckett and others.
David Levy, jazz saxophonist and President and Director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, will introduce "Let's Get Lost" (Little Bear Productions/Zeitgeist Films, 1989) about the life of "cool jazz" musician Chet Baker. Trumpeter-singer Chet Baker's life and career, from the promise of early years with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Gerry Mulligan to his bleak final days, are explored in this documentary centering around a lengthy interview given a few months before his death in 1988.
Patricia Willard, jazz historian and the Library's Gershwin Consultant in Jazz and Popular Music, introduces "An Evening of Duke Ellington." Duke Ellington kept an extraordinarily active work schedule throughout the 1960s, with international concert tours, dance dates, sacred concerts and recording sessions. These two programs, "Duke Ellington-Love You Madly" (1967) and "Duke Ellington at the Cote d'Azure" (1966), (both from the PBS/NET Collection archived at the Library of Congress) mix outstanding music performances with backstage insights.
An evening of big bands and Vitaphone films will be introduced by Bruce Talbot, executive producer, Smithsonian Institution Press Collection of Recordings. Films to be screened are "Jazz Casual -- Woody Herman" (KQED, 1964); "Let's Make Rhythm" (RKO Radio Pictures Inc., 1947); "Jimmie Lunceford and His Dance Orchestra" (Vitaphone Corp., 1937); "Jazz Is My Native Language - - A Portrait of Toshiko Akiyoshi" (Counterpoint Productions, 1983); and "United Artists Music Promotional Film" (United Artists Associated, 194?). The evening's program showcases some short films intended for theaters and then, later, broadcast on television. Highlights include Stan Kenton with a young June Christy in "Let's Make Rhythm" and the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. In addition, a rarely shown "Jazz Casual" featuring "Road Father" Woody Herman's 1963 Orchestra with Jake Hanna and Sal Nistico can be seen.
The Monterey Jazz Festival, founded in 1958 by Ralph Gleason and Jimmy Lyons, is the focus of tonight's program, introduced by Patricia Willard. The festival built its success on mainstream jazz mixed with commissions for new music. Two videos will be shown: "Monterey Jazz Festival -- Tenth Anniversary" (WNET, 1968) and "Monterey Jazz Festival #2" (WNET, 1968). Performances at the 1967 festival were filmed for NET and include Carmen McRae, Ray Nance, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Earl Hines and a surprise collaboration between T-Bone Walker and B.B. King.
The Washington premiere of a documentary on the late baritone saxophonist- composer-arranger Gerald Joseph "Jeru" Mulligan (1927-1996), as yet untitled, will be introduced by Jon Newsom, acting chief of the Library's Music Division. It is directed by Thor Raxlen and commissioned by the Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund in the Library of Congress.
Bossa nova (new way) was created in 1958 when Brazilian singer, guitarist Joao Gilberto recorded several songs written by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes that combined a streamlined samba with elements of cool jazz and avant-garde poetry. The success of Marcel Camus' 1959 film "Black Orpheus" and Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz's jazz samba album in 1962 helped make bossa nova an international phenomenon. The program will be introduced by Larry Appelbaum. Films to be screened are "Eyewitness -- The New Beat" (CBS News, 1962); "A Man & His Music -- Ella and Jobim" (Sinatra Enterprises/Bristol Productions Inc., 1967); "Jazz Casual -- Bola Sete" (NET, 1963); and "Jazzvisions -- Rio Revisited" (Jack Lewis Productions/Bonnie Burns Productions Inc., 1988).
"No Maps on My Taps" (AGTN Productions, 1979) and "The Jazz Hoofer -- The Story of Baby Laurence" (H-D Productions, 1981) are featured in an evening called "Tap," introduced by Carol Vaughan, executive director of the Tap America Project. George T. Nierenberg's award-winning documentary is an exploration of the heritage of tap dancing, with recollections by Bunny Briggs, John Bubbles, Chuck Green and Sandman Sims. In "The Jazz Hoofer..." Baltimore-born dancer Baby Laurence demonstrates why he was considered the greatest bebop tap percussionist.
Peggy Lee (Norma Deloris Egstrom) is often called a pop rather than a jazz singer--she's not even listed in The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz -- but her phrasing and interpretive skills, honed through associations with Benny Goodman, Dave Barbour, Benny Carter, Quincy Jones and others, attest to her jazz identity. Television cameras catch her in rehearsal and performance in "NET Presents Miss Peggy Lee" (NET, 1969). "An Evening of Peggy Lee" will be introduced by Joel E. Siegel, who teaches screenwriting and literature at Georgetown University and writes film reviews for the Washington City Paper. His liner notes for The Complete Billie Holiday on Verve won a 1995 grammy award.
"Jazz Singers" are featured in the films on tonight's schedule: "Anita Ellis -- For The Record" (Tony Silver Films Inc., 1980); "The Nat `King' Cole Musical Story" (Universal Pictures Co., 1955); "Jazz Casual -- Lambert, Hendricks & Bavan" (NET, 1963); "Swingtime Video -- Meet the Singers w/June Christy" (Swingtime Video, 1985); and "Sammy Davis Jr. Show w/Johnny Hartman." The program will be introduced by television commentator, newspaper columnist and radio host, Askia Muhammed.
When Miles Davis went electric in the early 1970s, he sent shock waves in jazz circles. Soon afterward, many of his proteges followed in his footsteps with rock-influenced rhythms and experimentation. Tonight's program presents three of the most successful jazz-rock fusion groups of the mid-1970s: Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, Chick Corea's Return to Forever and Weather Report. Examples of some other types of fusion, including jazz-African (Hugh Masekela) and jazz-gospel (Max Roach), are also included on the program introduced by Christopher Porter, who writes on jazz and popular music for the Washington City Paper. The following videos will be shown: "Soundstage -- New Jazz" (WTTW/Chicago Educational Television, 1978); "Soundstage -- Downbeat Jazz Awards" (WTTW/Chicago Educational Television, 1975); "Soul -- Union of South Africa" (NET, 1970); and "Soul -- Max Roach" (NET, 1970).
Rare performance footage of two of the most influential pianists and composers of the bebop era, Earl "Bud" Powell and Thelonious Monk, will be shown on this evening's program, "Bud and Monk." Filmed in Paris in 1959, Powell's groups include Clark Terry, Barney Wilen, Lucky Thompson and Kenny Clark. Monk features his quartet with Charlie Rouse and is later joined by drummer Philly Joe Jones. Peter Pullman, who is writing Bud Powell's biography for Farrar, Straus and Giroux, will introduce the evening's films.
Charlie Young, a lecturer in music at Howard University, who plays lead alto in the Duke Ellington Orchestra, introduces this evening's program on "Three Tenors." The films to be screened are: "Who Is Sonny Rollins" (NET, 1968); "Johnny Griffin at the Village Vanguard" (Myriad Media Productions Inc., Bulldog Productions Inc., 1981); and "John Coltrane Quartet at Antibes" (1965, collected by Jean Christophe Averty). The Sonny Rollins documentary is a rarely seen profile of the man many consider the greatest tenor saxophonist today. The Griffin video is raw, unedited footage of his quartet at the world- famous New York City jazz club. From 1965 there is a brief glimpse of John Coltrane's classic quartet, which disbanded soon after this concert at Antibes.
The last program on the Library's jazz film series features two giants of modern jazz, Don Cherry (1936-1995) and Julius Hemphill (1940-1995), performing in Washington and New York City in rare video, courtesy of District Curators. It is introduced by Bill Warrell, executive director of District Curators.
All films will be shown in the Mary Pickford Theater, third floor of the Library of Congress James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but telephone reservations are suggested. Reservations will be accepted by telephone, (202) 707-5677 during business hours, no earlier than seven days in advance of each program. Reserved seats must be claimed at least 10 minutes before showtime, after which standbys will be admitted. To request a printed series schedule, call (202) 707-5502.
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