Jammin’ the Blues (1944)


Lester Young and trombonist, probably Dicky Wells, from a LIFE feature on the making of the short film Jammin’ the Blues (1944)

From the Wikipedia page on the film:

Jammin’ the Blues is a 1944 short film in which several prominent jazz musicians got together for a rare filmed jam session. It featured Lester Young, Red Callender, Harry Edison, Marlowe Morris, Sid Catlett, Barney Kessel, Jo Jones, John Simmons, Illinois Jacquet, Marie Bryant, Archie Savage and Garland Finney. Barney Kessel is the only white performer in the film. He was seated in the shadows to shade his skin, and for closeups, his hands were stained with berry juice.

The movie was artfully directed by famed still photographer Gjon Mili and released by Warner Bros. Producer Gordon Hollingshead was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Short Subject, One-reel. [read more]

Song and performance credits, adapted from IMDb

  • “Jammin’ the Blues” (Lester Young)
    Performed by Lester Young and group
  • “On the Sunny Side of the Street” (m. Jimmy McHugh, w. Dorothy Fields)
    Performed by Marie Bryant
  • “Midnight Symphony” (Lester Young)
    Performed by Lester Young and group


[vimeo 54355893 w=520&h=324].

(above) Photographer Gjon Mili (L) w. bassist Red Callender & saxophonist Lester Young on set of the film Jammin’ the Blues, directed by Mili.

Location: Hollywood, CA, US
Date taken: October 10, 1944
Photographer: Gjon Mili
Size: 1280 x 1223 pixels


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chris Tyle
    Apr 17, 2014 @ 10:40:29

    I believe the trombonist in the photo with Lester Young is Dickie Wells.



  2. Pattie Wells
    Feb 10, 2017 @ 11:46:04

    I just discovered this amazing resource on Song Book! Thanks



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