Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Art Ford's Jazz Party - 1958



Art Ford's Jazz Party, was a TV series featuring jazz musicians on WNTA-TV in New York City, and which aired on Thursdays at 9pm ET from May 8, 1958 to December 25, 1958.

The 90-minute shows, hosted by Art Ford (1921-2006), were distributed by the DuMont Television Network. The shows were also aired on Armed Forces Television. All episodes were filmed in a New Jersey studio, except for the final episode, which was recorded August 11, 1958 in New Orleans, and aired on December 25.

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The list of Jazz Party performers reads like a Who Is Who of jazz from Dixieland to swing to mainstream, along with a sprinkling of modern players. Giants appeared, as did emerging stars and the obscure. There were blues and folk artists also thrown in the mix. Performers who appeared on the show included Billie Holiday, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Buster Bailey, Vinnie Burke, Roy Eldridge, Abbey Lincoln, J. C. Higginbotham, Les Paul, Dick Hyman, Anita O'Day, Mary Osborne, Teddy Charles, Harry Sheppard, Maxine Sullivan, Alec Templeton, and many others.

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The show was shot in a relaxed, free-for-all, strictly non-rehearsed atmosphere in those early days of television and it shows. The fact that these musicians tore down the roof every time they hit the set is a testament to their supreme musicianship.

Art Ford, himself a great jazz fan, was proud of the lineups, which, unlike other early TV shows, were integrated. That may have ultimately doomed the show, said jazz historian Dan Morgenstern, in an opinion that was shared by Nat Hentoff, another noted jazz historian.

"I never go into a show with any concern about what's going to happen," Ford once said. "I can always get the best jazz men in the business. That's why I'm completely relaxed.". So are we, Art.

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6 comments:

d3lta said...

http://lix.in/-e1ef5c

Bhowani said...

Looks very interesting, thanks a lot, d3lta, for this post.

Anonymous said...

This CD is out of print; selling for up to $295 on Amazon. So thanks!

--Bart

Anonymous said...

Here's some less-than-perfect videos you can download:
https://archive.org/details/ArtFordsjazzParty1958

Hope good versions of this whole series become available some day.

--Bart

Danky Beats said...

thank you!

Danky Beats said...

awesome thank you :)