Movies 'Til Dawn Blog


Closing out this weeks posts on the great Jelly Roll Morton, here’s the great Dick Hyman (funniest name in jazz) playing a Morton stride piano showpiece called ‘The Finger Breaker’. Hyman’s impeccable delivery of this wildly inventive and scary/difficult piece is a wonder to behold. Enjoy…

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I DIG JELLY ROLL PT. 3 In 1926 and early 1927 Jelly Roll Morton recorded what are arguably the most important traditional jazz records ever made. Calling his group the ‘Red Hot Peppers’, the sides they cut for the Victor Talking Machine Company are the earliest fully-orchestrated ‘hot jazz’ recordings featuring a tightly rehearsed and

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Here’s an extraordinary recording of Jelly Roll Morton playing a solo piano version of ‘Tiger Rag’. Morton’s piano technique is flawless and the audio is quite remarkable, capturing not only the ‘air’ in the room but the sound of Morton’s foot stomping in tempo. Most versions of ‘Tiger Rag’ reduce

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For the past few days I’ve been immersed in one of the best jazz biographies I’ve ever read, ‘Jelly’s Blues’, a biographical history of Jelly Roll Morton and his times. The book, by Howard Reich and William Gaines, is one of the rare musical biographies that makes you want to

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BUDDY’S BLUES ON ZOOM Here’s a rocking good version of one of my favorite Sondheim songs from ‘Follies’, the intricately prosaic and wonderfully sour ‘Buddy’s Blues’. It’s performed by Alexander Gemignani and was part of the Sondheim 90th birthday virtual TV concert, which thanks to the pandemic gave us performances via Zoom. Yet

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Stephen Sondheim was a game fanatic. He collected old board games, did lots of puzzles etc. etc. This fact has been covered thoroughly and I’m getting bored trying to update it and make it sound exciting so lets get to the meat. In 1966 Sondheim was invited to be a

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What do we know about Ricky Ricardo’s career? Chiefly that he came to New York via Cuba sometime in the pre-war years (just as Desi Arnaz did) but that the similarities between the two mens CV’s ends there. Desi hit it big on Broadway in 1939 in Rodgers and Hart’s

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Not only was Desi Arnaz seriously underrated as the mind behind the building of Desilu Studios (see last weeks posts) but he was criminally underrated as a performer. In this 1951 clip from ‘I Love Lucy’ he and Lucille Ball perform a specialty number called ‘Cuban Pete’. It’s a frigging

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Behold a nifty little mini-doc (under ten minutes) about the history of Desilu Studios. Directed and edited by an admirable TV historian named William French, it answers a number of questions I’ve always had about the pioneering TV studio/production company, including what back lots they owned and how much land

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Take a ride down the Sunset Strip in 1963 and enjoy the cool cars and the already sickening smog. My favorite liquor store, Gil Turner's, was already in business. #HollywoodHills #LosAngeles

Take a trip down the Sunset Strip, heading east and facing south, in 1967. I can smell the rib joint that was on the SE corner of Crescent Heights. Anyone know what I'm referring too? #SunsetStrip317 #Hollywood #LosAngeles #60s

What do Duke Ellington and Cinerama have in common? Find out in this quite fascinating (if I do say so myself) blog entry that I wrote in--yikes--2007. It includes the incredibly strange and beautiful short 'Symphony In Black'. #Jazz #TCM #Cinema

Dig Rick Moranis doing his wicked Merv Griffin impression in this sketch from the immortal SCTV NBC late night show of the early 80s. Guest appearances by Liberace, Loni Anderson and Yasser Arafat. #television #comedy #Mimicry

I had no idea that Merv Griffin interviewed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his show in 1967? Did you? A must-watch clip. #television #ClassicTV #MLKDay #MLK #BlackLivesMatter

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