Columbia Pictures Corporation; Michel Kraike, producer; Will Jason, director; musical director unknown; recorded during the period January 5 – January 27, 1945; Venuti band sequence filmed to playback January 26 and/or 27, 1945
Note that this feature film is not related in any way to the 1931 feature of the same name, starring Barbara Stanwyck, and also produced by Columbia Pictures.
Starring Jane Frazee, Jimmy Lloyd, Robert E. Scott, Joan Woodbury
- Columbia studio orchestra (leader, recording and sideline personnel unknown)
The Columbia studio orchestra provides the film’s background music, as well as the dance music played on screen by the dance orchestra at “Merryland.” The music played behind the dancers is largely generic, and with the exception of “Tom Tom the Elevator Boy,” unidentified. The Columbia band also backs star Jane Frazee in a quartet of songs, none of which have any jazz content, although “Ten Cents A Dance” is the well-known standard by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.
- Joe Venuti and his Band (neither the band nor Venuti are credited on film; leadership of the band is assigned to Venuti because he is by far the most prominent and well known of the musicians in the combo)
Joe Venuti, violin; Lou Mitchell, trumpet; Al Mack, piano; Richard Fisher, guitar; George Green, string bass; Nick Pelico, drums
1. untitled blue (solos by all members of the band)
2. It Must Be Jelly (‘Cause Jam Don’t Shake Like That) – (Chummy Mcgregor, George Williams, Sonny Skylar) – Jane Frazee, vocal, accompanied by Joe Venuti and his Band (obligattos by Lou Mitchell and Joe Venuti)
While Joe Venuti’s two-chorus solo displays his usual sense of swing and imagination, the big surprise is the solo by Richard (Dick) Fisher, presumable the same “Dick Fisher” who served as Glenn Miller’s rhythm guitarist during the period 1939 – 1940. His six-string improvisation is inventive and technically adept, calling to mind George Van Eps or Alan Reuss; this is probably the only solo work by this artist that displays his true talent as an improviser. Mitchell, who usually served as a first trumpet player, shares two strong blues choruses ….and, as they say, neither Green nor Pelico do any harm!
Jane Frazee’s vocal on the second title is as far from the blues as one can get, although Mitchell and Venuti provide strong, emotive obligattos, and the band is much more attuned to the music than the vocalist!