|Directed by||William Dieterle|
|Screenplay by|| Phillip Yordan |
|Story by||Valentine Davies|
|Starring|| Adolphe Menjou |
|Music by||Leith Stevens|
|Cinematography||J. Roy Hunt|
|Edited by||John Sturges|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures|
Syncopation is a 1942 American film from RKO directed by William Dieterle and starring Adolphe Menjou, Jackie Cooper, and Bonita Granville. It is set during the early days of jazz. It is also known as The Band Played On.
In 1906, the Congo Square Building in New Orleans, which was previously used as a slave market, is transformed into an African-American unemployment bureau. Close by there is also an African-American musical college, where little Reggie Tearbone, seven years old, is learning to play Bach on his cornet. He has trouble following the sheet and starts improvising. It begins to sound more like a jazz piece.
Reggie's mother Ella works as a housekeeper for architect George Latimer. The Latimers are an old aristocratic family who has started to get financial problems. Because of this, when George's old friend Steve Porter come to visit, he offers the Latimer family, including George's daughter Kit and Ella, to return to Chicago with him.
The whole family go to Chicago, but Reggie stays behind, having gotten a permanent spot in King Jeffers' Basin Street Band.
Ten years later, Kit turns seventeen, and is left alone by both the Latimers and the Porters, who are out entertaining a client. Ragtime has developed from the regular jazz, and Kit meets the young street musician Johnny Schumacher when she is out walking alone.
The two youngsters go to a party at a musical promoter together, and Kit plays the piano in a new style, leading to her arrest. She gets off by playing the boogie-woogie to the jury.
Then comes World War I and changes everything, making the King Jeffers' Basin Street Band stop playing and Reggie, now known as "Rex Tearbone" and "King of the Cornet", goes to Chicago to continue his career.
Steve's son Paul and Kit are now engaged to be married, but Paul is forced out in the war. He is killed in battle. Soon, Johnny and Kit fall in love with each other and become sweethearts. When the war ends they marry. Johnny gets a job with a big jazz orchestra traveling Round, playing the cornet, but Kit doesn't want to join him on the road. Tired of not getting his place in the spotlight, Johnny soon quits the band and starts looking for true inspiration as a hobo.
After a while, Johnny is contacted by the music promoter he once attended a party at, and is offered to come to New York. Kit has started working for the promoter, and they reunite in New York. Johnny gets to play in a new band and get a few good gig with the help of his promoter.
After a slow start for the new band and its "innovative" sound, the audience realize that its great for dancing. The new sound is named "swing" and it revolutionizes jazz music completely.
Jack Thompson as Rex Tearbone as a child.
The film recorded a loss at the box office of $87,000.
Joseph Nathan "King" Oliver was an American jazz cornet player and bandleader. He was particularly recognized for his playing style and his pioneering use of mutes in jazz. Also a notable composer, he wrote many tunes still played today, including "Dippermouth Blues", "Sweet Like This", "Canal Street Blues", and "Doctor Jazz". He was the mentor and teacher of Louis Armstrong. His influence was such that Armstrong claimed, "if it had not been for Joe Oliver, Jazz would not be what it is today."
Ella Jane Fitzgerald was an American jazz singer, sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella. She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing, timing, intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.
Stage Door is a 1937 RKO film directed by Gregory La Cava. Adapted from the play of the same name, it tells the story of several would-be actresses who live together in a boarding house at 158 West 58th Street in New York City. The film stars Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Adolphe Menjou, Gail Patrick, Constance Collier, Andrea Leeds, Samuel S. Hinds and Lucille Ball. Eve Arden and Ann Miller, who became notable in later films, play minor characters.
Adolphe Jean Menjou was an American actor. His career spanned both silent films and talkies. He appeared in such films as Charlie Chaplin's A Woman of Paris, where he played the lead role; Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory with Kirk Douglas; Ernst Lubitsch's The Marriage Circle; The Sheik with Rudolph Valentino; Morocco with Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper; and A Star Is Born with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, and was nominated for an Academy Award for The Front Page in 1931.
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Freddie Keppard was an early jazz cornetist who once held the title of "King" in the New Orleans jazz scene. This title was previously held by Buddy Bolden and succeeded by Joe Oliver.
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Bonita Gloria Granville Wrather was an American actress and producer. She was best known for playing Nancy Drew in a film series of the late 1930s and for her roles in These Three (1936), Merrily We Live (1938), H. M. Pulham, Esq. (1941), Now, Voyager (1942), Hitler's Children (1943), and Song of the Open Road (1944).
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All Night Long is a 1962 British neo noir drama film made by the Rank Organisation, directed by Basil Dearden, and starring Patrick McGoohan, Marti Stevens, Paul Harris, Keith Michell, Richard Attenborough and Betsy Blair. The story, by Nel King and Paul Jarrico, writing under the name Peter Achilles, is an updated version of William Shakespeare's Othello, set in the London jazz scene of the 1960s. The black-and-white film features performances by several prominent British jazz musicians – among them Tubby Hayes and John Dankworth – as well as the Americans Dave Brubeck and Charles Mingus, who were in the UK in 1961 when filming took place and were recruited to participate.
Al Grey was a jazz trombonist who was a member of the Count Basie orchestra. He was known for his plunger mute technique and wrote an instructional book called Plunger Techniques.
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The Jazz Composer's Orchestra is a 1968 album by the Jazz Composer's Orchestra recorded over a period of six months with Michael Mantler as composer, leader and producer. Many of the key figures in avant-garde jazz from the time contributed on the album including Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Gato Barbieri, Larry Coryell, Roswell Rudd, and Carla Bley. The album's finale features a two-part concerto for Cecil Taylor and orchestra.
Jazz at the Philharmonic – Yoyogi National Stadium, Tokyo 1983: Return to Happiness is a live album that was released in 1983. The album includes Louie Bellson, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Ella Fitzgerald, Al Grey, J. J. Johnson, Joe Pass, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Oscar Peterson, Zoot Sims, and Clark Terry.
"Muskrat Ramble" is a jazz composition written by Kid Ory in 1926. It was first recorded on February 26, 1926, by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five, and became the group's most frequently recorded piece. It was paired on the flip side with another one of Armstrong's hits, "Heebie Jeebies." It was a prominent part of the Dixieland revival repertoire in the 1930s and 1940s, and was recorded by Bob Crosby, Roy Eldridge, Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman, Muggsy Spanier, Chet Atkins, Lu Watters, the Andrews Sisters, Harry James, and Al Hirt, among others. It is considered a part of the jazz standard repertoire.
The Tall Target is a 1951 American film noir crime film directed by Anthony Mann and starring Dick Powell, Paula Raymond and Adolphe Menjou. Powell stars as a police sergeant who tries to stop the assassination of Abraham Lincoln at a train stop as Lincoln travels to his inauguration. It is based on the alleged Baltimore Plot.
Dixieland, sometimes referred to as hot jazz or traditional jazz, is a style of jazz based on the music that developed in New Orleans at the start of the 20th century.
The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz is a six-LP box set released in 1973 by the Smithsonian Institution. Compiled by jazz critic, scholar, and historian Martin Williams, the album included tracks from over a dozen record labels spanning several decades and genres of American jazz, from ragtime and big band to post-bop and free jazz.