Virtual Screening Room: Stars of Jazz

Thursday, Feb 11, 2021 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Drummer Max Roach

UCLA Film & Television Archive presents

Stars of Jazz: Two newly preserved episodes with restored audio


Hosted with cool authority by musician and actor Bobby Troup (songwriter of the beloved standard, "Route 66"), the short-lived Stars of Jazz television series (1956-58) exposed both hip and square audiences to the best of jazz music and its immensely gifted practitioners. During the civil rights era, Stars of Jazz presented viewers with integrated programming at a time when few African American artists were seen on TV. This progressive modernity is also reflected in the mid-century design aesthetics of the program: sparse stages and moodily lit sets directly reflect the dynamic tenor of jazz. The resulting landmark programs represent a unique record of both jazz and television as two of the most vital emerging American art forms at mid-century. To enhance the listening experience, the two preserved Stars of Jazz episodes presented here feature soundtracks restored from superior sources, including commercially released LPs and audio derived from transcription discs that were originally broadcast by the Armed Forced Radio and Television Service (AFRTS).

Historian James A. Harrod, author of the book Stars of Jazz: A Complete History of the Innovative Television Series, 1956-1958, will join Television Archivist Mark Quigley for a post-screening conversation.

Program in b&w. Total running time, including discussion: 85 min.

Stars of Jazz  (KABC-TV, 10/13/1958)

Guests: Max Roach Quintet and vocalist Mary Ann McCall. 

Stars of Jazz  (KABC-TV 05/19/1958)

Guests: Lighthouse All Stars and vocalist Julie London.

Preservation funded with a grant from the Grammy Museum Foundation. Audio engineering services by Nicholas Berg, Endpoint Audio Labs. Thanks to David Seubert, Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library; Ken Poston, Los Angeles Jazz Institute; Mark Cantor, Celluloid Improvisations; James Harrod, Jazz Research.

Program curated and notes written by Mark Quigley, John H. Mitchell Television Archivist. Made possible by the John H. Mitchell Television Programming Endowment.

Drummer Max Roach