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Swing Era - Louis Jordan: Films & Soundies
Swing Era - Louis Jordan Films Soundies
Actor: n/a
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
NR     2004     1hr 30min

One of the chief progenitors of the R&B idiom and a pioneer of the small-combo "jump" blues style so popular during the Forties, vocalist and altoman Louis Jordan is justly remembered as a performer who defined an era. Ga...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: n/a
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Jazz
Studio: Mvd Visual
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 04/13/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Great, but be warned.....
Andre M. | Mt. Pleasant, SC United States | 07/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The material here is great. Louis Jordan, the crown prince of Jazz comedy and R&B in the 40s appears here in wildly comical selections from his Muslical comedies Beware, Reet Petitie and Gone, and Look Out Sister as well as independent short films of his songs. About 35 in all. Great stuff, such as his bug-eyed lunacy in "Beware," LJ's brilliantly comical dance in "Early in the Morning," and his wacky pre-rap lyrics in "Look Out Sister." Then there's the vivacious wigglings of the early "hoochie mama" videos (as another reviewer has described), in particular Mabel Lee's sumptuous shakings of her considerable pulchritude in "Wham Slam Check Those Gams." Imagine Beyonce doing her thing in the jitterbugging 40s and you'll get the idea.On the other hand, the transfers are not that great for the segments from "Beware" and "Reet Petite." In the former, the vocals don't synch well with the film (and I've seen better transfers on VHS of that film) and in the latter, the pictures are quite bleached out and not very watchable. This aside, the rest of this compilation has excellent prints and are fun to watch. Watching the musical segments apart form the original films is fun. However, it would be nice to see "Look out Sister" and "Beware" in their uncut form on DVD. Enjoy after a hard day's work and get some Louis Jordan CD's in the meantime."
Louis Jordan Swing Era DVD (Short Review)
Glenn Cripes | 03/10/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Idem Home Video apparently couldn't be bothered to synch the audio with the video.

In Search Of The Roots, One More Time
Alfred Johnson | boston, ma | 05/20/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Okay, okay I admit that I have gone on and on in this recent quest to `find' the roots of rock `n' roll, the music of my youth. Early Sun Record recording artists like Elvis and Carl Perkins, of course, figure in the mix. Big Joe Turner and his seminal "Shake, Rattle and Roll", naturally. The work of Little Milton, Ike Turner and others who came firing out of the R&B world in the early 1950's, again a "no-brainer". Hell, even some work like the later Bob Wills and His Texas Playboy are contenders. Today, though I am going back even a little further. Let's try right after World War II and one Louis Jordan and His Tymphany Five.

If, as I believe, the critical mass for the evolution of rock `n' roll comes primarily out of R&B and the blues tradition then Mr. Jordan and his "scat" message delivered in his own style has got to be, even if only archeologically, part of the mix. This DVD under review only adds fuel to the fire as it provides us with music from three black audience-oriented films that featured the work of Jordan and His Tymphany Five (as well as some very fetching black women dancers, especially the frequently featured Honey Carter). Add some additional material from other sources labeled "soundies" here and you have a fairly complete repertoire of 35 pieces to work from.

Clearly some of the material from the films is strictly novelty stuff like the cowboy get ups, the military uniforms and other props in the various clips. Moreover, the strong sexual undertone provided by the appearance of those very fetching dancers (and assorted other female hangers-on) plays to something sexual and racial that would (and should not) not go down well with today's audiences. The exploitation of black entertainers back in the day (or now, for that matter) as well as some very conscious stereotyping (like the rolling eyes, dreamy smiles, the Step-n-Fetchit-like routines, etc.) mars the effect of the music on some of these clips. However, pay attention to Mr. Jordan's sax, the work of his band and the "jump" of his music. That is HIS legacy to the world of music. If you are interested in "roots" music, an archival slice of black musical history, well or poorly done, on film or why Louis Jordan is considered a major musical influence in some quarters look here.
Information hound | Nebraska, USA | 01/26/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Not as much music or dancing as I'd hoped.
Very chopped up.
The sound is not good.
I will be reluctant to order anything like this again."