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Jazz Films

There were a handful of short Jazz films made in the late 1920s and early 1930s. These films were usually one or two reelers, and were shown as shorts before the feature film.

Only four of the below listed films had articles about them on Many can now be found on Youtube and where there is no article to link to we have linked accordingly. A huge amount of work on early short soundies has been done in the time since the Red Hot Jazz Archive was created. The legacy of Vitaphone Project Co-Founder Ron Hutchinson lives on in hundreds of films that might otherwise have been lost.

Title Starring Year
Ben Bernie and All The Lads Ben Bernie and his Orchestra 1924 or 1925
Pep and Personality Tommy Christian and his Orchestra 1927
Carnival Nights In Paris Henry Halstead and his Orchestra 1927
Reb Spikes and his Follies Entertainers Reb Spikes 1927
Fred Waring And His Pennsylvanians Fred Waring And His Pennsylvanians 1927
St. Louis Blues Bessie Smith 1929
Black And Tan Fantasy Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra 1929
The Opry House pt.1, pt. 2 Mound City Blue Blowers 1929
Syncopation Waring’s Pennsylvanians 1929
Grace Johnston and the Indiana Five Grace Johnston and the Indiana Five 1929
Is Everybody Happy? Ted Lewis 1929
Red Nichols and his Five Pennies Red Nichols and his Five Pennies 1929
How Can I Love You? Seger Ellis and his Embassy Club Orchestra 1929
After Seben Chick Webb and his Orchestra 1929
Check And Double Check Duke Ellington 1930
King Of Jazz Paul Whiteman 1930
The Happiness Remedy Ted Lewis 1931
The Big Broadcast Bing Crosby and Eddie Lang, Cab Calloway, The Boswell Sisters, The Mills Brothers 1932
Rhapsody In Black And Blue Louis Armstrong 1932
I Heard Don Redman 1933
Smash Your Baggage Elmer Snowden‘s Small’s Paradise Orchestra 1933
Symphony In Black Duke Ellington and his Orchestra 1935

A number of films not listed above can be found at 2Reeler Jazz on YouTube. A huge variety of films restored by the Vitaphone Project are now commercially available at
Jazz Films

Jammin’ At The Margins: Jazz And The American Cinema, by Krin Gabbard, University of Chicago Press, 1996 was a pioneering website during the "Information wants to be Free" era of the 1990s. In that spirit we are recovering the lost data from the now defunct site and sharing it with you.
Most of the music in the archive is in the form of MP3s hosted on or the French servers of where this music is all in the public domain.
Files unavailable from those sources we host ourselves. They were made from original 78 RPM records in the hands of private collectors in the 1990s who contributed to the original They were hosted as .ra files originally and we have converted them into the more modern MP3 format. They are of inferior quality to what is available commercially and are intended for reference purposes only. In some cases a Real Audio (.ra) file from will download. Don't be scared! Those files will play in many music programs, but not Windows Media Player.

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