Beginning in the late 1920s, there was a subtle shift in the jazz repertoire as combos and big bands began to perform and record songs from the Broadway stage and Hollywood musical. To be sure, tunes based on the blues, older jazz forms (ragtime, quadrilles, etc.), and original compositions continued to be an important part of the jazz “book.” Still, the Great American Songbook grew in ever-increasing importance where the jazz repertoire was concerned.
While the plot of Broadway and Hollywood musicals were often lyrics-driven, it was the intricate harmonies and chord changes, along with often enchanting melodies, of these compositions that appealed to jazz artists. Over the years literally thousands of recordings relied on the words and music of George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern and many others.
BROADWAY TO HOLLYWOOD AND ALL THAT JAZZ is the last of the 2014 series of jazz films presented at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco in their acclaimed Giants of Jazz series. The program is being shared Saturday, May 3, at 8:00 P.M.
The program will be assembled, curated and personally introduced by jazz film historian Mark Cantor. The clips are drawn from more than 4,000 filmed performances collected in the Celluloid Improvisations Music Film Archive, and the program will include films that cannot be seen elsewhere.
Variety is the keynote of the Giants of Jazz series, and this program will include instrumental and vocal performances, as well as dance. The music of all of the major contributors to the Broadway stage and Hollywood musical will be represented, songs that are loved as part of the Great American Songbook. Presented in “jazz time,” the program includes such well-known tunes as I Got Rhythm, Lady Be Good, Lullaby of Broadway, Over the Rainbow, Get Happy, Love For Sale and nearly two dozen more.
It is the highly personal interpretation of these tunes that makes this program especially unique and exciting. Each artist brings something different to their performance, and no song is ever played the same way twice. Featured vocalists include Ella Fitzgerald, June Christy, Mel Torme and Sarah Vaughan. The instrumental talent is equally strong, with improvisations offered by such jazz masters as Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck, Chet Baker, Artie Shaw, Shorty Rogers and many more.
Jazz on film is a fascinating area of jazz study, and you are cordially invited to investigate further at the Celluloid Improvisations web site, www.jazz-on-film.com. For tickets to the event, visit the Jewish Community Center web site at https://www.jccsf.org