Three clips from a vanished era — when movies were introduced by black-and-white newsreels (and cartoons, short subjects, even travelogues) that had time to show jazz musicians, those vivid people, in action. Here are three very short excerpts brought to us by that intrepid jazz time-traveler Enrico Borsetti. The subjects of the first clips will be more than familiar (you’ll see Arvell Shaw in the big band clip) but the surprise, for me, was of the brilliant New Orleans clarinetist Albert Nicholas in the final clip.
Those of you who don’t speak Italian fluently and rapidly will find the narration difficult at first — but my readers are good at improvising!
In the first post (April 1959) the welcome is provided by the Roman New Orleans Jazz Band, and don’t ignore those beautifully dressed, smiling “stewardesses”:
Then, we move to Holland (May 21, 1958) in front of a very happy audience. FINE comes all too soon:
Finally, the International Jazz Festival at San Remo (February 1, 1956) with twelve glorious bars of Albert Nicholas — one luminous blues chorus:
Also featured are Italian jazz notables Nunzio Rotondo, Carlo Pes, Romano Mussolini, Gilberto Cuppini and the Milan College Jazz Society.
P.S. I have a particular sentimental attachment to footage of this kind because my late father worked for a time at Movietone News. Irrelevantly, perhaps — one of his colleagues was Walter Bishop Sr., father of the modern jazz pianist.