It’s a list all lovers of jazz and film carry around with them in their heads. It took Hallwalls curator Ed Cardoni to make it a film series to be shown at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays beginning next Thursday in Hallwalls (341 Delaware Ave.).
All that’s missing, if you asked this lover of jazz and film, would be Otto Preminger’s “Man With the Golden Arm,” with music by Elmer Bernstein and featuring the drumming of Shelly Manne, and Robert Wise’s film “I Want to Live,” with music by Johnny Mandel and an amazing on-screen septet led by Gerry Mulligan with Art Farmer, Bud Shank, Frank Rosolino and the once-ubiquitous Manne.
What Cardoni has put together though is some of the all-time greatest jazz ever to appear as a movie soundtrack (and often on camera). It begins slowly and gains momentum.
Hallwalls’ “Jazz Noir: 1950-1966” then celebrates spring in wondrous style.
Next Thursday – “Young Man With a Horn” (1950). Michael Curtiz directed this adaptation of Dorothy Baker’s novel with Kirk Douglas and Harry James combining to make one of the most intense ideas of Bix Beiderbecke anyone ever had.
April 18 – “Pete Kelly’s Blues” (1955), directed by and starring Jack Webb. Yes Webb really loved jazz. He had Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald in his film to prove it.
April 25 – “Sweet Smell of Success” (1957), directed by Alexander Mackendrick and written by Clifford Odets. One of the great movies of its era, it stars Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis as a kind of damned version of Walter Winchell and his legman Lee Mortimer, with music by Elmer Bernstein and the on-screen appearance of Chico Hamilton’s Quintet.
May 2 – “Elevator to the Gallows” (1957) from director Louis Malle with, arguably, one of the three all-time greatest jazz scores, in this case by Miles Davis. It’s best heard on disc but good to see how it works in the film.
May 9 – “Anatomy of a Murder” (1959) by Otto Preminger. One of the other two truly great jazz scores in movies, in this case composed by Duke Ellington (who appears briefly as Pie-Eye, a nightclub session leader). Starring James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara and George C. Scott.
May 16 – “The Connection” (1961), directed by Shirley Clarke. From Jack Gelber’s play with music by Freddie Redd featuring the great alto saxophonist Jackie McLean.
May 23 – “Paris Blues” (1961), directed by Martin Ritt and starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward with music by Duke Ellington.
May 30 – “Alfie” (1966), directed by Lewis Gilbert. Classic starring Michael Caine whose jazz score didn’t include the afterthought Bacharach title tune, but was rather written and performed by the great Sonny Rollins.