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...

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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.”