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JAMMIN’ JAZZIN’ and JIVIN’: JAZZ ON FILM

Exhibition of classic film posters now at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

In 1927, the success of Warner Bros.’ The Jazz Singer, the first so-called “all-talkie feature,” launched not only the “sound era,” but also initiated a three decade period during which some of the greatest names in jazz music – Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman – appeared on film.

After major film studios began exploiting the popularity of jazz, both black and white independent film producers began the production of black cast films, intended for distribution to theaters catering to black audiences. However, due to the method of distribution, the films themselves have often become lost over time and, in these cases, the paper promotional materials are the only evidence we have of their production and release.

Concern for detail, often striking use of color, stylized presentation of the film’s content, and use (or avoidance) of the racial and ethnic stereotypes of the period make these posters worthy of our critical study, appraisal and appreciation.

Three nights of film screenings will take place at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland this month, in celebration of Black History Month. FREE with a reservation. Visit www.rockhall.com to RSVP.

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