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Collection Jazz on the Screen Filmography

About this Collection

Jazz on the Screen is a reference work of filmographic information and does not point to digitized versions of the items described.

Celebrating 40 years since the initial JAZZ IN THE MOVIES

Jazz on the Screen reflects the opinions of its author, David Meeker, and not the views of the Library of Congress.

This is the sixth corrected and expanded edition of a database attempting to document, in a purely factual manner and with a very minimum of editorial flourish, the work of some 1,000 major jazz and blues figures in what presently amounts to well over 20,000 cinema, television and video productions, whether the result of their involvement in these media is apparent on camera or is hidden, whether behind the scenes on soundtrack or perhaps deeper back into production, whether their resulting work is jazz or not. In other words, this is an attempt to achieve the impossible: a filmography of musicians’ screen work. It does not purport to contain any discographical information. It attempts to include not only active participation by an individual musician in visually recorded media, where he or she has actually contributed creatively to a production, but also those many instances where their pre-composed work has been used on soundtrack or where  their image has been interpreted aurally or visually, with or without their collaboration, often posthumously and more often than not, previously uncredited.

Clockwise from top left: Chris Barber and his Band working for a TV show in the 1950s; Dizzie Gillespie (Sam Wright, left) and Charlie "Bird" Parker (Forest Whitaker) on stage performing in Los Angeles in "Bird," a Malpaso Production for Warner Bros. release; Count Basie at Warner Bros. for the shooting of "Sex and the Single Girl", Duke Ellington (left), Mort Sahl and Otto Preminger working on "Anatomy of a Murder" (1959); Director Bertrand Tavernier, left, with Herbie Hancock and Dexter Gordon on "Autour de minuit" (1986).

Included here are films produced professionally for the screen, whether released commercially or non-commercially on 70mm, 35mm or 16mm gauges, notwithstanding their length. Some films are included that were completed but not  released; even a few that remain uncompleted. Films, teleplays and television series made for distant transmission are also included no matter how they were eventually released. In all cases it is quite irrelevant whether the item was shot on film, videotape or digital formats.

Perhaps more importantly the user should be aware of what is excluded from this database. Except for a handful of rather special and generally well-known examples there are few newsreels, no actuality footage, no cinema or television or internet commercials or other promotional material such as music promos, no instructional shorts, trailers, video games, home movies, amateur work, 9.5mm, 8mm or other small gauge productions -- except in those cases when they have been incorporated into other films. Furthermore, television production is generally but not exclusively limited to those programmes that actually headline or highlight jazz personnel. Therefore, sports and children’s programmes, ceremonial events, magazine programmes, talk shows, awards ceremonis, news bulletins, game shows, soap operas, panel games, quiz shows, etc., and guest appearances in other non-jazz, light entertainment programmes are generally excluded, though where details were at hand they have been included simply because it would have been eccentric to omit them deliberately.

Each entry includes a jazz or blues reference whether the  involvement is as musician, actor, conductor, producer, songwriter, etc. The extraneous details that are included, particularly the names of participating non-jazz musicians, are done so purely as a matter of information and general interest, though often of contextual relevance and on the principle that one cannot have too much information. Cherry-picking has been the name of the game and there is absolutely no attempt at providing fully completed entries. As to which musicians are included and which are excluded has been decided by the undersigned to whom polite comments may be directed. Fine musicians such as Allyn Ferguson, Artie Kane, George Benson, Nat Peck, the late Sacha Distel and the late Gil Mellé, though unlikely to be considered strictly jazz musicians nowadays, demand inclusion by virtue of their impeccable jazz credentials: similarly, many performers who might be seen  as being somewhat marginal are included (such as Fats Domino, Claus Ogermann, Frank Comstock, John McLaughlin, Helmut Zacharias, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Friedrich Gulda); the history of jazz would be considerably lessened without reference to them. On the other hand it is appreciated that similar arguments could be made in favour of many other distinguished but excluded talents who have been involved in jazz throughout  their careers, such as André Previn, Henry Mancini, Lena Horne, Dave Grusin, Jerry Fielding, Rosemary Clooney and even Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra -  but a line, however shaky, has had to be drawn somewhere... Note also that a few jazz names (Quincy Jones, Buddy Bregman, Bill Richmond, Henri Renaud, George Melly, Med Flory, Dudley Moore, Ray Ventura, François "Moustache” Galépides, for example) have non-musical second and even third careers as actors, producers, directors, writers, adaptors or for source material, credits for which generally have been considered as being outside the scope of this work. Furthermore, some figures such as Roy Budd and Mark Isham have been included only as music performers in much the same way as prolific music directors such as Jack Parnell, Les Brown and Steve Race who worked steadily on literally hundreds of television shows are only included when a major jazz figure is also involved. Incidentally, those jazz hounds who may come across director credits elsewhere for James P. Johnson, Dave Tough or Clifford Brown should contain their excitement and note that these are actually pseudonyms for the ubiquitous,  jazz-loving Spanish filmmaker Jesús Franco!

The data, where known, is arranged as follows:

1. Title of production.As given on screen and in original language excepting where a non-Roman alphabet is involved in which case a generally accepted transliteration is used. Listed in strict alphabetical order, ignoring the article, under the terms of the long established Rules for Cataloguing as set out by the Library of Congress.

2. Alternative title/s. These are co-production alternatives. For foreign language films English or other language release titles are provided only in the case of co-productions. Local distributors’ release titles are ignored.

3. Country of production.

4. Copyright date or, where unregistered, production date.

5.  tvm=made-for-tv movie
     tvs= made-for-tv series
     tv= made-for-tv programme or made-for-video/-DVD release

6.   f= feature over 60 minutes
      m= medium length 30-60 minutes
      s= short under 30 minutes

7.   Director

8.   Composer

9.    Music director and/or conductor

10.  Orchestrator

11.  Music supervisor

12.  Arranger

13.  Personnel (or part personnel) on soundtrack

14.  Songs, whether new or pre-composed

15.  Personnel on camera

16.  Notes  

This database has been devised as a result of research undertaken over a period of some 50 years whilst attending and working with international film festivals, film institutes, publishers, filmographers and archives across Europe and the USA. It arose out of an initial commitment to the subject  made during the preparation of three editions of my publication "Jazz in the Movies." Grateful thanks must be acknowledged to the publishers of those volumes for their support of the work.

So many kind people have helped me compile this documentation over such a long period of time that they can’t possibly all be acknowledged individually though that doesn’t lessen the thanks that are due to them - particularly those whose names from the past I regret to have long forgotten. But there have been some especially generous people without whom this work simply would not and could not exist and they are owed an enormous debt of gratitude. Above all I must cite the late Karl Emil Knudsen, Markku Salmi, the late Bud Shank, Lennie Niehaus, Andrzej Wasylewski, Tony Middleton and late maestro Shorty Rogers. For many kindnesses, for facts, practical assistance and friendship my sincere personal thanks are due to Angus Trowbridge, the late Bud Freeman, Don McGlynn, David Shire, the late Howard Roberts, Julian Benedikt, Hubert Niogret, Robert Wagner, Christian Braad Thomsen, the late Eddie Sauter, Jacques Lourcelles, Hans-Michael Bock, the late David Raksin, the late Ken Wlaschin, the late Heinie Beau, Martin Scorsese, Tony Rayns, Thelma Schoonmaker, Steve Turner, Anthony Frewin, James A. Harrod, Peter von Bagh, John Jeremy, Peter Scarlet, Lorenzo DeStefano, Jan Kaspersen, Anja Baron, the late Hugo Montenegro, Howard Shore, Tise Vahimagi, Robert E. Mugge, Tommy Vig, the late Bruce Ricker, the late Vic Lewis, Larry Appelbaum, Professor David Bordwell, Barbara Schwarz, Helma Schleif, Kees Hazevoet,  Richard Dacre, Digby Fairweather, Tom Kemp, Navlika Ramjee, Caroline Vié-Toussaint and Maria Fernanda Borges. Additionally, I am much indebted to the numerous Internet websites that are so helpful nowadays, among which are those devoted to the work of Raymond Scott, Rondo Magazin, L’Institut national de l’audiovisuel, The Internet Movie Database, Mezzo TV, Wayne Bergeron, Bruce Fowler, Walt Fowler, Dennis Budimir, Dan Higgins, Gary Grant, Plas Johnson, Carol Kaye, Bob Findley, Alan Kaplan, Malcolm McNab and Emil Richards. For the Library of Congress David Francis and the ever-patient Samuel S. Brylawsk, Matthew Barton, Morgan Cundiff and their expert staff have miraculously made it all happen.

Wherever possible the films, television programmes, video and DVD releases have been viewed in order to verify the available details but inevitably one has to rely on secondary sources more than anyone would wish. They have been many and varied; again, too numerous to list. But  some essential sources of information deserve mention and thanks: The Hollywood Reporter, Film Dope, Variety, The American Film Institute Catalogs, CineGraph Lexikon zum deutschsprachigen Film edited by Hans-Michael Bock, The Soundies Distributing Corporation of America by Maurice Terenzio, Scott MacGillivray, Ted Okuda, The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, Des Compositeurs pour l’Image by Alain Lacombe, The Montreux Jazz Festival List of Audiovisual Archives 1966-2001, Les Fictions françaises à la Television by Jean-Marc Doniak and Nicolas Shmidt, Lissauer’s Encyclopedia of Popular Music in America 1888 to the Present, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows  by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, Unsold Television Pilots 1955 through 1988 by Lee Goldberg, The Newport Jazz Festival: Rhode Island 1954-1971 by Anthony J. Agostinelli, Jazz Journal International (the only periodical that used to devote a regular column to Jazz on the Screen - a title that they coined), Jazz on Film and Video in The Library of Congress by Rebecca D. Clear,  members of the Internet Jazz Research Group and, first among the many filmographies, biographies and discographies consulted over the years, Jazz Records 1942 - 1980 by Erik Raben. And let me not forget to thank the research facilities offered by The British Library and by the BBC Written Archives Centre.

The copyright for the concept and style of this database is assigned to the author, David Meeker, who retains all rights. No part of this work may be directly reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted for any commercial purpose without the prior permission in writing of the author or as expressly permitted by law.

Suggestions for improving this database will be very welcome. Being basically a work in continuous progress, corrections and additions are particularly sought - though these should be accompanied by source validation. Our aim is to upload a corrected and enhanced edition of the database annually, usually in the spring.

All correspondence and requests for reproduction should be addressed in the first instance to:

Jazz on the Screen,
Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division,
Library of Congress,
D.C. 20540-4698,

This database is dedicated to the late Milton ‘Shorty’ Rogers, composer, bandleader, conductor, orchestrator, arranger, music director, trumpet and fluegel horn soloist, music supervisor, songwriter, A. & R. honcho and inspiration to all who care to listen.

David Meeker MBE
February 2012