Correspondence: A Granz Film

Reacting to the Norman Granz item in the following exhibit, Alan Broadbent writes:

I’m sure you and your readers must be aware of this precious film, but for the record here it is. Is it from the legendary Granz vault?

Yes. Granz produced, wrote and narrated the film In 1950. He titled it Improvisation. The photographer was Gjon Mili, who had collaborated with Granz six years earlier on the short subject Jammin’ The Blues. The players recorded the music in advance. For the filming, they synchronized fingering and breathing to match the recorded track—some with greater success than others. The synching efforts seem to account for the amusement among the musicians. This cast of players is typical of those Granz assembled for his Jazz At The Philharmonic concerts.

Collective personnel: Charlie Parker, 
Coleman Hawkins, Hank Jones, Ray Brown, Buddy Rich, Bill Harris, Lester Young, Harry Edison, Flip Phillips, Ella Fitzgerald.

That clip, outtakes and a good deal of subsidiary material, exist on this DVD.

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  1. Jim Brown says

    Note that this is a two-DVD set, one of which includes the 1944 classic Jammin’ The Blues, with Prez and a lot of others, and a lot of Granz-produced music from Europe in the 70s, and including Duke’s band and small group. There are also some very nice interviews. It’s well worth owning..

  2. Mike Harris says

    What an unbelievable discovery—incredible band, superb music, and photography that could have taken place yesterday. Thank you, Alan and Doug, for bringing this treasure to light!

  3. Dr. Mike Baughan says

    Incredible! If you freeze it @ 8:18, there’s an iconic shot of Prez’ shoes & The Pork Pie Hat.

    Thanks Doug &Happy Turkey ‘Bird’ to all……