Abstract: Audiovisual representations of jazz performances provide us with more information than audio recordings. The camera not only allows us access to music performances, it also constructs vantage points by framing its subjects in specific ways. This chapter explores aspects of representation and embodiment in jazz performance on film. By looking at filmic technique through shot composition, levels of close-up, focus, and so on, the chapter examines how filmic representation works to mediate the way in which viewers are directed to gaze at and understand performances. Beginning with some examples of Hollywood “Soundies” (including a film of the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra) and moving to documentary-style films of jazz performance (including examples by Chet Baker and Jim Hall), this chapter shows how filmic techniques and production can serve to highlight musical hierarchies and relationships, providing a kind of commentary on the music.
Elsdon, P. (2016). Framing jazz: thoughts on representation and embodiment. In B. Heile, P. Elsdon, & J. Doctor (Eds.), Watching jazz: Encounters with jazz performance on screen (37-56). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof%3Aoso/9780199347650.003.0002