Posted on

Newly Published: Stars of Jazz

New on our bookshelf:

Stars of Jazz: A Complete History of the Innovative Television Series, 1956–1958
James A. Harrod

Imagine an educational television series featuring America’s greatest jazz artists in performance, airing every week from 1956 to 1958 on KABC, Los Angeles.

Stars of Jazz was hosted by Bobby Troup, the songwriter, pianist and vocalist. Each show provided information about the performance that heightened viewers’ appreciation. The series garnered praise from critics and numerous awards including an Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. A landmark series visually, too, it presented many television firsts including experimental films by designers Charles and Ray Eames.

All 130 shows were filmed as kinescopes. Surviving films were donated to the UCLA Film & Television Archive, where 16 shows have been restored; 29 additional shows are in the collection. The remaining 85 kinescopes were long ago discarded.

This first full documentation of Stars of Jazz identifies every musician, vocalist, and guest who appeared on the series and lists every song performed on the series along with composer and lyricist credits. More than 100 photographs include images from many of the lost episodes.