Mark Cantor, jazz film scholar, is one of those rare beings animated by knowledge and generosity in equal portions. I’ve never met him in person, but I’ve been delighted by what he knows about jazz and popular musicians of the last century in their often uncredited film appearances . . . and by his willingness to share, not only data but the films themselves. Evidence of the latter can be found right here on his YouTube channel.
On Saturday, March 23, 2013, at 8 PM, Mark will be offering another one of his famous jazz film programs — this one so rich with material it has a double title: STOMPIN’ AT THE SAVOY / SWING, SWING, SWING. Mark’s films will concentrate on the great bands and singers who either performed at Harlem’s famed Savoy Ballroom or who should have: Louis, Ella, Chick, the Savoy Sultans, Erskine Hawkins, Basie, Duke, BG, Bob Chester, and some rarities that can’t be seen elsewhere. The place is the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco’s Kanbar Hall, 3200 California St., San Francisco, CA 94118 (415-292-1233). For ticket information, click here or here.
The Beloved and I will be there, smiling at the screen and at Mark. Come join us!
Just in case you’ve never heard of Mark, and wonder whether his collection is worth a trip from your apartment, I present here two of his (annotated) short films that I love. Neither will be on the March 23 bill, which is all the more reason to share them here.
SONG SHOPPING (with Ethel Merman, Johnny Green, the bouncing ball and the usual absurdist / violent Max Fleischer cartoon antics — 1936:
THE CAPITOLIANS (directed by Walt Roesner, 1928) — a must-see for anyone who likes spectacle or hot jazz / dance music or both:
And here’s a happy review of Mark’s 2012 show.
May your happiness increase.