Jammin' the Blues

Jammin' the Blues is a 1944 American short film in which several prominent jazz musicians got together for a rare filmed jam session. It features Lester Young, Red Callender, Harry Edison, Marlowe Morris, Sid Catlett, Barney Kessel, Jo Jones, John Simmons, Illinois Jacquet, Marie Bryant and Archie Savage. Barney Kessel is the only white musician in the film. He was seated in the shadows to shade his skin.[2]

Jammin' the Blues
Directed byGjon Mili
Produced byGordon Hollingshead
Narrated byKnox Manning
CinematographyRobert Burks
Edited byEverett Dodd
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • May 5, 1944 (1944-05-05)
Running time
20 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States




The film was directed by still photographer Gjon Mili, edited by Everett Dodd, with lighting and photography directed by Robert Burks (his first credit in this field), and released by Warner Bros.

Working with Harold Eugene Edgerton of MIT, Mili was a pioneer in the use of stroboscopic instruments to capture a sequence of actions in one photograph. Mili did not serve as cinematographer for this film, but Blues uses multiplied images that in many ways recall the multi-image still-frames done with the strobe.


Producer Gordon Hollingshead was nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Short Subject, One-reel.[5]

In 1995, Jammin' the Blues was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


Jammin' the Blues appears on the DVDs Jammin' With the Greats (2005) Passage to Marseille (2006), Norman Granz: Improvisation (2007), "Blues in the Night" (2008).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Brief Descriptions and Expanded Essays of National Film Registry Titles". Library of Congress. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  2. ^ Keepnews, Peter (8 May 2004). "Barney Kessel, 80, a Guitarist With Legends of Jazz, Dies". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Driggs, Frank; Lewine, Harris (1996). Black Beauty, White Heat: A Pictoral History of Classic Jazz, 1920-1950. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0306806728.
  4. ^ Meeker, David (1982). Jazz in the Movies. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0306761478.
  5. ^ "The 17th Academy Awards (1945) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved May 29, 2019.

External linksEdit