Jazz In Film

The Film: Carmen Jones

The Year: 1954

The Director: Otto Preminger

The Stars: Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte, Pearl Bailey and Brock Peters.

The Music: Soundtrack work done by Cozy Cole along with great performances by Pearl Bailey, Max Roach, Richie Powell and Curtis Counce.

The Story: This adaptation of the 1944 Broadway success provided a modern Black version of the Merimee story that retained the original Bizet music. At an all-black army camp, civilian parachute maker and “hot bundle” Carmen Jones is desired by many of the men. Naturally, she wants Joe, who’s engaged to sweet Cindy Lou and about to go into pilot training for the Korean War. Going after him, she succeeds only in getting him into the stockade. While she awaits his release, trouble approaches for both of them.

More Posts:


Jazz In Film

The Film: Bells Are Ringing

The Year: 1960

The Director: Vincente Minnelli

The Stars: Judy Holliday, Dean Martin, Eddie Foy Jr. and Jean Stapleton

The Music: Composed by Jule Styne; appearance by baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan

The Story: Ella Peterson is a Brooklyn telephone answering service operator who tries to improve the lives of her clients by passing along bits of information she hears from other clients. She falls in love with one of her clients, the playwright Jeffrey Moss, and is determined to meet him. The trouble is, on the phone to him, she always pretends to be an old woman whom he calls “Mom.”

More Posts:


Jazz In Film

The Film: A Man Called Adam

The Year: 1966

The Director: Leo Penn

The Stars: Sammy Davis Jr., Ossie Davis, Cicely Tyson, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra Jr., Peter Lawford, Mel Torme, Lola Falana, Jeanette Dubois, Johnny Brown, George Rhodes and Henry Silva.

The Music: Scored by Benny Carter with Sammy Davis ghosted by Nat Adderley. Performances by Louis Armstrong, Billy Kyle, Buster Bailey, Tyree Glenn, Kai Winding, Jo Jones, Frank Wes and Mel Torme.

The Story: Sammy Davis Jr. does a great job as the film’s central character Adam Johnson, a famous self-destructive, unlikable jazz trumpeter finds himself unable to cope with the problems of everyday life. He finds true love for the first time with a virginal bleeding heart: a sensible civil rights activist who wants to reform the hotheaded musician of his hard liquor and hard living. Adam, carrying around a multitude of shoulder-chips, lashes out at everybody and never seems to land on his feet; after burning all his bridges, he finds himself at the end of his professional rope; yet the faithful are still hopeful he can make a comeback. Much better are Ossie Davis as a friend with a strong center and endless patience, as well as love-interest Cicely Tyson. Mel Tormé stops the show with a terrific rendition of “All That Jazz”, while the superb soundtrack and Jack Priestley’s gleaming cinematography are first-rate throughout.

More Posts:


Jazz In Film

The Cool World

The Director:Shirley Clarke

The Writers: Shirley Clarke, Carl Lee, Warren Miller and Robert Rossen

The Actors:Rony Clanton, Carl Lee, Yolanda Rodriguez, Clarence Williams III, and Gloria Foster

The Story:This 1964 film is a powerful, stark semi-documentary look at the horrors of Harlem ghetto slum life filled with drugs, violence, human misery and a sense of despair due to the racial prejudices of American society. There is no patronizing of the black race in this cinematic cry for justice. A fifteen-year-old boy called Duke is ambitious to buy a “piece” (a gun) from an adult racketeer named Priest, to become president of the gang to which he belongs, and to return them to active “bopping” (gang fighting) which has declined in Harlem. It is a clearly patent allegory of an attempt by Duke to attain manhood and identity in the only way accessible to him – the antisocial one.

The Music:The soundtrack of abstract jazz colorings was never officially released, however, this Dizzy Gillespie re-recording is the next best thing.

More Posts:


Jazz In Film

Harlem Nights: 1989 film written and directed by Eddie Murphy also stars Murphy, Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Danny Aiello, Della Reese, Stan Shaw, Jasmine Guy, Lela Rochon and Arsenio Hall.

 The Story:Sugar Ray is the owns an illegal casino, who contend with the pressures of a ruthless gangster, corrupt policemen and a sultry siren who want to take a huge percentage of his earnings and put him out of business. To escape the carnage of the Roaring Twenties, Ray and his crew must pull off the greatest con of their lives.

The Music: Original music score by pianist & composer Herbie Hancock. Contributing composers Duke Ellington, Irving Mills, Walter G. Samuels, Leonard Whitcup, Teddy Powell, Arthur Johnston, Sam Coslow, Arthur Altman, James Cavanaugh, Barney Bigard, Count Basie, Reginald De Koven, Clement W. Scott, Jararaca, Vincente Paiva, Albert Stillman

Soundtrack: Just One More Chance, Black Beauty, Drop Me Off In Harlem, That Gal From Joe’s, Heaven Help This Heart Of Mine, It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing), Just One More Chance, Long Time No See, Mama Eu Quero, Mood Indigo, Oh Promise Me, One O’Clock Jump, Sophisticated Lady, Take My Heart,

Performers: Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Buddy Clark, Eddy Duchin, The Andrew Sisters, John McCormick, Buddy Clark, Nat Brandywynne, Duke Ellington, Count Basie

More Posts:

« Older Posts