Celluloid Improvisations is an archive of jazz (and jazz influenced and/or related) music preserved on 16mm sound film, videotape, laserdisc, DVD and various digital formats. The collection includes more than 4,000 separate performances, and while the archive’s holdings focus on jazz, they also include such related forms of American music as blues, Swing, Western Swing, “pop,” rhythm and blues, country-western, vernacular dance, vaudeville and variety arts, etc.
In addition to the preservation of music performance on film, one of the major focuses of the archive is gathering and evaluating as much information as possible about each of the films. A significant emphasis is placed on the identification of soundtrack musicians and on-screen (sideline) performers, including musicians, dancers and variety artists. Close attention is also paid to recording and sideline dates, and production personnel.
Films from the Archive have been shared publicly over the past forty-five years for a wide variety of sponsors, including Playboy Enterprises, The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, The International Association of Jazz Record Collectors, Monterey Jazz Festival, California African-American Museum, Academie du Dance (Paris, France), Healdsberg Jazz Festival, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Festival de Popoli (Florence, Italy), Rio de Janiero Festival of Jazz on Film, and many others.Along with the public exhibitions of jazz films Mr. Cantor has served as a consultant in the production of a large number of documentaries and feature films, as well as books and magazine articles related to music on film. His footage has been widely used by television/documentary/CD-ROM/web site and DVD producers, and has been seen in dozens of presentations, including the Academy Award-nominated A Great Day In Harlem and Ken Burn’s documentary Jazz.Mr. Cantor was a professional educator who taught all levels of school from kindergarten through college extension. He retired from teaching in 2011. He has written liner notes for jazz recordings and has assisted in their production. He is currently writing a book on Panoram SOUNDIES, which will be the definitive work on these “music videos” (juke box film shorts) of the 1940’s. As a well-known authority on the subject of jazz on film Mr. Cantor is regularly contacted by filmmakers, television producers, newspersons and writers for information relating to jazz music and its documentation on film.
Watch clips from the Archive
A site dedicated to the life and music of the great stride pianist Thomas “Fats” Waller. VISIT SITE
A terrific site managed by jazz scholar Jan Evensmo. VISIT SITE
Michael Steinman is truly one of the “good guys” in our music. His tastes are eclectic, his knowledge encyclopedic. Michael’s blog, JAZZ LIVES, promotes classic sounds and recordings, as well as recent performances of the music. His blog is literate and witty and highly recommended. VISIT SITE
David Meeker’s Jazz and Blues Filmography. This primary source requires updating, and information should be double checked, but it is still a major resource. VISIT SITE
For those interested in rhythm and blue, and vocalists/vocal harmony group in particular, there are few sites as comprehensive as Marv’s. There is a wealth of information here, all researched using primary source documents; the worry about “watch what you read on the Internet” is really not an issue here. VISIT SITE
Mike Zirpolo has written the definitive biography of Bunny Berigan (Mr. Trumpet), and at this site he covers not only Bunny’s fabulous music, but that of the Swing Era in general. Among the highpoints of the site are links to classic jazz recordings, accompanied by detailed analysis of each. This site is a favorite of mine, one that I return to often. VISIT SITE
A basic source, but often useful. VISIT SITE
Tom Lord’s online discography. It is a paid service which allows access to a comprehensive discography of jazz recording. VISIT SITE