Home Read Classic DVD Review: Various Artists | The Sound of Jazz

Classic DVD Review: Various Artists | The Sound of Jazz

This hour-long 1957 CBS TV special is the holy grail for old-school jazz lovers.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


THE MAIN EVENT: If you’ve ever seen a jazz documentary on Billie Holiday, it likely contained a clip of her singing Fine And Mellow in a TV studio, backed by an all-star combo featuring saxophonist Lester Young.

Well, The Sound of Jazz is the show that clip comes from — an hour-long CBS special from 1957 that featured not just Holiday and Young but a remarkable cross-section of jazz legends including Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Gerry Mulligan, Roy Eldridge, Jimmy Rushing, Red Allen, Papa Jo Jones and several more.

EXTRAS! EXTRAS! Just a few audio clips of the various performers, but who cares? This video is a holy grail for jazz buffs, even if the reproduction — a transfer of a video taken from an old Kinescope — is dodgy at times.

AW, SKIP IT: Nothing against sax man Jimmy Giuffre, but in this group, he’s definitely expendable.