Many of the greatest performances from the Jazz Period were captured in film and these film clips serve as a lens into the question of race and prejudice. From the Cotton Club to Broadway and Hollywood, when we view these films we appreciate the performance’s historical value, but the manner in which it was originally presented can be disturbing to modern sensibilities. In films made through the mid 1950s racial, ethnic and gender-oriented stereotypes were the rule, rather than the exception; African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Jews — none could escape the stereotypes of the time. However, quite miraculously, the music is always triumphant, and through the jazz the stereotypes actually take the back seat to great artistic performance.
Join us for this special program presented by Mark Cantor: Blacks, Whites and Technicolor: Racial Images in Jazz
We will reflect on a past era as we revisit performances by Duke Ellington, Gerry Mulligan, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Barnet, South African films of the 1940s, Nat “King” Cole and much more.
Sunday, April 10, 10:30 am at Congregation Kahal B’raira, 765 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA
Mark Cantor, film archivist and historian, lives in California and has been active as a researcher and preservationist in the area of music on film for the past 30 years. During that time he has assembled the largest and most comprehensive collections of popular music on film in the United States.
Photo of Louis Armstrong by Flickr user samkling used under Creative Commons license.