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Lost Jazz Archives from the Art Ford Collection

Bandleader and television host Art Ford spotted me on Public Access TV in the late 1980s and was flabbergasted when he saw that I had the only existing Kinescope of his DuMont show "Art Ford's Greenwich Village Party," with guests Adolph Green and Betty Comden, and Cy Coleman on the piano. I conducted an interview with Ford and he gave me his collection of 16mm Kinescopes from another DuMont show called "Jazz Party," complete with appearances by Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, and a whole list of other jazz legends. Ford's collection, alongside hundreds of other jazz-related reels that I've amassed over the years, provides a unique lens through which to view television's role in the dissemination of this crucial American art form.

Greenwich Village Party 

Of all the original negatives from the DuMont collection, I am most impressed by ART FORD'S GREENWICH VILLAGE PARTY. With all of the glamorous women it has, it's got a Bohemian PLAYBOY AFTER DARK aura. This portrays a Village crowd drinking wine and smoking cigarettes (circa 1950s). Art introduces legendary piano composer Cy Coleman who joined the show every Friday. Nancy Walker discusses Noel Coward and her work in FALLEN ANGELS and Art talks with another theater and film legend, Ben Hecht, about his latest play, Winklebird. This tape also features Mamie Van Doran and one-time Paramount Picture president Don Hartman


Art Ford hosted and produced this series of live jazz performances from the mid-1950's, featuring some of the top talent in the world performing in an open-ended, unrehearsed settings. Volume one features ex-Ramsey Lewis vocalist Bill Henderson (who later worked with Oscar Peterson) and trumpet player Roy "Little Jazz" Eldridge (a genuine musical giant best remembered in popular music as a star of Gene Krupa's band during 1941-42, in tandem with Anita O'Day), with Buck Clayton on trumpet, Herbie Green on trombone, Ossie Johnson on drums, Buster Bailey on clarinet, Stuff Smith on piano, and Johnny Guarneri playing the piano.

The content of this and the other installments of JAZZ PARTY is so well played and special in its nature, that anyone with even a partial interest in music will want to see at least one of the shows, and all of them are a gilt-edged priority for reasonably serious fans.


This volume of JAZZ PARTY is a salute to Storyville, live from New Orleans and featuring singer Sweet Emma Barrett (aka The Bell Gal--so-called because she wore garters with bells on them that jingled as she moved around the stage), Bob Crosby Band co-founder Eddie Miller on clarinet, pianist Armand Hugg, Dukes of Dixieland alumnus Harry Shields, also on clarinet, and New Orleans legend Alfonse Picou.


Coleman Hawkins leads an all-star group including Duke Ellington/Louis Armstrong alumnus Tyree Glenn on trombone, violinist-turned-clarinetist Hank D'Amico (who also played with Benny Goodman, Red Norvo, and Tommy Dorsey), and guitarist Mary Osborne (seen more recently at the 1981 Kool Jazz Festival).


The rest of the band that includes Charles Mingus/Sarah Vaughan veteran Sir Roland Hannah on piano, former Benny Goodman drummer Morey Feld, Alec Templeton on piano, Johnny Windhurst (a veteran of Eddie Condon's and Sidney Bechet's bands, and the Jazz At Town Hall concerts by Art Hodes and James P. Johnson) on trumpet, and Art Goldberg on bass.


A salute to the birth of jazz in New Orleans, featuring a ton of history about the music and the city, and a band led by Sweet Emma Barrett on piano, Bunk Johnson alumnus George Lewis on clarinet, Paul Barber on drums, Punch Miller (a veteran of Jelly Roll Morton's band) on trumpet, and Alfonse Picou. Songs include "When The Saints Come Marching In."

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