I don't care too much about music. What I like is sounds. -- Dizzie Gillespie
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Jazz in the movies Featured

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As a new film about Miles Davis hits the screens, Jazzonline looks at the best jazz films and biopics in history, including movies about Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Dave Brubeck and Charlie Parker among others. 


THE JAZZ SINGER (1927)
The son of a Jewish Cantor must defy the traditions of his religious father in order to pursue his dream of becoming a jazz singer.

BLUES IN THE NIGHT (1941)
"Jigger' Lane forms a band that includes singer Ginger 'Character' Powell, wife of the trumpeter Leo Powelll, and Nickie Haroyen and Peppi. All of them dedicate themselves to work as a unit and to play 'blues' music.

CABIN IN THE SKY (1943)
A compulsive gambler dies during a shooting, but he'll receive a second chance to reform himself and to make up with his worried wife.

STORMY WEATHER (1943)
The relationship between an aspiring dancer and a popular songstress provides a retrospective of the great African American entertainers of the early 1900s.

    

THE FABULOUS DORSEYS (1947)
The rise of the Fabulous Dorsey brothers

YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN (1950)
 A musical drama based inspired by the life of Bix Beiderbecke, the jazz cornetist (musical success, fame, and fortune) and lows (sour marriage, death of his mentor, bout with alcoholism).

THE GLENN MILLER STORY (1954)
The film follows big band leader Glenn Miller (1904–1944) (James Stewart) from his early days in the music business in 1929 through to his 1944 death when the airplane he was flying in was lost over the English Channel during World War II.

THE BENNY GOODMAN STORY (1956)
Bio of swing band leader 'Benny Goodman' from age 10 (1919) to his landmark Carnegie Hall band concert in 1938. Great music and also, guest appearances by many great musicians of the time.

     

HIGH SOCIETY (1956)
High Society  is a musical remake of The Philadelphia Story ( a film starring Kathryn Hepburn as the bride, Cary Grant as the first husband, and Jimmy Stuart and Ruth Hussey as the reporters) starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Frank Sinatra.

ST LOUIS BLUES (1958)
Will Handy grows up in Memphis with his preacher father and his Aunt Hagar. His father intends for him to use his musical gifts only in church, but he can't stay away from the music of the streets and workers.

JAZZ ON A SUMMER'S DAY (1959)
This documentary captures all the highlights of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival.

PARIS BLUES (1961)
Ram Bowen and Eddie Cook are two expatriate jazz musicians living in Paris where, unlike America at the time, Jazz musicians are celebrated and racism is a non-issue. Starring Sidney Poitier  and Paul Newman, the film also features trumpeter Louis Armstrong.

     

LADY SINGS THE BLUES (1972)
The story of the troubled life and career of the legendary Jazz singer, Billie Holiday.

ALL THAT JAZZ (1979)
Director/choreographer Bob Fosse tells his own life story as he details the sordid life of Joe Gideon, a womanizing, drug-using dancer.

THE COTTON CLUB (1984)
The Cotton Club was a famous night club in Harlem. The story follows the people that visited the club, those that ran it, and is peppered with the Jazz music that made it so famous.

THE GIG (1985)
6 amateur musicians accept an offer to play a 2-week gig in the Catskills. When the bass player suddenly falls ill, they recruit a genuine pro to fill in. As they embark on the opportunity of a lifetime, dreams and

     

ROUND MIDNIGHT (1986)
In 'Round Midnight, real-life jazz legend Dexter Gordon brilliantly portrays the fictional tenor sax player Dale Turner, a musician slowly losing the battle with alcoholism, estranged from his family, and hanging on by a thread in the 1950's New York jazz world.

BIRD (1988)
The troubled life and career of the jazz musician, Charlie "Bird" Parker.

LET'S GET LOST (1988)
American documentary film about the turbulent life and career of jazz trumpeter Chet

MO' BETTER BLUES (1990)
Jazz trumpeter Bleek Gilliam makes questionable decisions in his professional and romantic lives.

     

A GREAT DAY IN HARLEM
In August of 1958, 57 of the greatest jazz musicians of all-time gathered on the steps of a Harlem brownstone for a photograph. 

SWEET AND LOWDOWN (1999)
In the 1930s, jazz guitarist Emmet Ray idolizes Django Reinhardt, faces gangsters and falls in love with a mute woman.

DAVE BRUBECK: IN HIS OWN SWEET WAY (2010)
A chronological look at the life and career of jazz musician, composer, and performer Dave Brubeck 

CHICO & RITA (2010)
Chico is a young piano player with big dreams. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and romantic desire unites them, but their journey - in the tradition of the Latin ballad, the bolero - brings heartache and torment.


     

BB KING “The Life Of Riley”(2012)
The untold true American story of an orphan boy from the heart of the Mississippi Delta who rose to music stardom around the world and inspired a generation of fans against all odds.

WHIPLASH (2015)
A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student's potential.

BESSIE (2015)
The story of legendary blues performer Bessie Smith, who rose to fame during the 1920s and '30s.

WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? (2015)
A documentary about the life and legend Nina Simone, an American singer, pianist, and civil rights activist labeled the "High Priestess of Soul."


     


BORN TO BE BLUE (2015)
A re-imagining of jazz legend Chet Baker's musical comeback in the late '60s.

MILES AHEAD (2016)
An exploration of the life and music of Miles Davis.

DJANGO (2017)
The Berlin International Film Festival 2017 opened with the world premiere of Etienne Comar’s directorial debut Django, a biopic of jazz legend Django Reinhardt.

CHASING TRANE (2017)
The definitive documentary film about an outside-the-box thinker with extraordinary talent whose boundary-shattering music continues to impact and influence people around the world. This smart, passionate, thought-provoking and uplifting documentary is for anyone who appreciates the power of music to entertain, inspire and transform.

     


 

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 April 2017 16:13