Thursday, 3 August 2017

The Subject is Jazz

More goodies from Ebay...

Hello. Up for sale is an original 16mm print of an NBC/NET television program from 1958 titled, The Subject is Jazz. Excellent condition with Near Mint image, SUPERB SOUND, complete from start to finish with Head, Countdown and Tail, no splices, no vinegar odor. It is a near perfect print. The film is 1100 feet in length, and the show runs 30 minutes. This is a print and not a telecine. This, the first show in the series, is titled, What is Jazz?
Note that my photos came out a bit dark because my aperture opening was incorrect. The two films listed after this one depict a more accurate resolution/brightness.
The Subject is Jazz was an innovative 13-week series hosted by Gilbert Seldes. It featured some of the giants in the world of jazz, both in live performance and in conversation. The guest for this premiere episode was Duke Ellington. The sound and mix the engineers got from this live jazz ensemble in an early studio setting is phenomenal. Here’s a list of the performers: 
Billy Taylor – Piano (also musical director)
Osie Johnson – Drums 
Mundell Lowe – Guitar
Eddie Safranski – Bass
Carl Severinsen – Trumpet (as “Doc” he led The Tonight Show band from 1967-1992)
Tony Scott – Clarinet
Jimmy Cleveland – Trombone 
Here’s a quick rundown of the program. Note that the songs played in their entirety are quite long, featuring many solos: 
  1. Intro music and opening with host Seldes.
  2. Royal Garden Blues. The entire number from start to finish.
  3. Seldes introduces and talks with Duke Ellington.
  4. Dixieland number is performed in its entirety (I didn’t catch the title).
  5. More conversation with Duke Ellington that turns into a tribute as Billy Taylor plays portions of three of his songs: Drop Me Off In HarlemSophisticated Lady, and Caravan. Ellington comments how great his songs sound in the hands of Billy Taylor (and it’s true). 
  6. Cottontail. The entire song is heard with plenty of solos all around.
  7. Seldes wraps up the show, end credits.

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