This is a tremendous video documentary on one of the most important of all Washington, DC jazz musicians, Shirley Horn. With relaxed pacing and uncluttered focus, it presents a well-rounded picture of a great artist and features Shirley Horn at her home in Washington, in a Los Angeles studio with orchestra, and in public performances from the Village Vanguard and Lincoln Center in New York, all from 1991. The film was produced by her record label, PolyGram, and participants include Carmen McRae, Quincy Jones, Johnny Mandel, John Levy, Steve Williams, Lorraine Gordon, Staff Rosenborg, and her mother, daughter, and husband. I don’t believe this ever saw a DVD release.Continue Reading
Dick Smith of the Potomac River Jazz Club has digitized (PDF) the first decade or so of the club newsletter. These provide a good deal of information on the Washington, DC traditional jazz scene.
The PRJC still exists, but later issues of Tailgate Ramblings are not yet available online.Continue Reading
This excellent documentary film, Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines, was made by Charlie Nairn for the British ATV network (now-defunct). It features a good deal of footage of Earl Hines, both speaking and playing, filmed at Blues Alley in Washington, DC in the spring of 1975. Hines appeared from March 31 to April 12, 1975. The film starts off mentioning that the coming Sunday (perhaps following the original television broadcast?) would be Hines’s seventieth birthday – he asserted that he was born on December 28, 1905, but there is evidence that he was actually born in 1903. Much of the filming was done on afternoons without an audience, but there is a bit of live performance (“Boogie Woogie on St. Louis Blues”) at the end. The bassist is Harley White, Jr., and the drummer is Eddie Graham. Blues Alley’s then-owner Gene Hart is seen briefly, but featured much more prominently is “clean up man” Frank Hart – a brother?Continue Reading
This installment in the four-part Jazz in America series was filmed at Blues Alley in Washington, DC on March 2, 1981. It’s a nice hour-long set, without any introduction, historical context, or commentary. The band is Roach’s quartet with Cecil Bridgewater (t), Odean Pope (ts), and Calvin Hill (b), all of whom are in top form.
The other shows in the Jazz in America series, which aired on PBS in September 1983 (filmed in February-March 1981) are: Dizzy’s Dream Band at Lincoln Center in New York City, Gerry Mulligan at Eric’s in Chicago, and Dizzy Gillespie at Concerts by the Sea in Redondo Beach.Continue Reading