Why don’t we have the video?

Just like we don’t have video for many 1920s era players, innovative musicians of the 1940s through 60s (and beyond) are also often missing from the film record.

Why?

Hollywood and its affiliates were not interested in them as they were in mass appeal acts like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Benny Goodman. Television with its very narrow platform in those days did not have room for anyone outside of the mainstream.

For folks too young to know, film and television production pre-video was very expensive and was for all practical purposes controlled  by a handful of movie studios and television networks.

Local television stations sometimes created their own productions, but lacked the means to record their programs and/or archive them properly.

Believe it or not, Charlie Parker appeared on the Soup Sales Show, but the tape of that performance has been lost.

Thankfully our good friends in Europe often bridged this gap, but if a musician did not make it over to Europe and into a television studio or concert hall in England, Italy, France, Germany or one of the other European countries that were featuring jazz, we have nothing.

This makes me appreciate the miracle every time a performance did get filmed and saved.

By the way, note well how many of the videos in our archive are the result of European productions. There would be a huge gaping hole in the historical record were it not for them.

Thank you.

Merci. (French)

Danke. (German)

Grazie. (Italian)

Tak. (Danish.)

Tack. (Swedish)

Takk. (Norwegian)




The five miracles of jazz video
Billy Foster
Donate