1920’s Jazz Dance 1929 (Duke Ellington)

Posted by Dance

From the short: BLACK AND TAN 1929
This is a two part number. Leading off is Fredi Washington who was an actress with some dance experience. It has been said of Fredi Washington that for the sake of her career she could of and should of been willing to pass for white. To her credit she refused to do so. The second part of this number beginning at about the 1:20 mark is a classic example of a so called “Jungle Dance”. These demeaning but energetic dances were hugely popular with the white patrons of the Cotton Club and other Harlem night spots in the 1920’s.

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Comment (16)

  1. This is a great short! Is it possible to please post the entire film in 720p? Or even better at 1080p? There are other versions but their quality is dreadful. Yours looks very nice, well done. Thank you!!!

  2. Shot of feet from under a glass floor at 0:59. Busby Berkeley is often credited with the idea, but he was still on Broadway when Dudley Murphy directed this short. Produced at RCA's Gramercy studio in New York, originally titled 'Jazz', it was renamed to evoke an early extended composition by Duke, 'Black and Tan Fantasy', heard at the finale.

    This release by the new RKO Radio outfit features unusually elaborate effects work in a short to convey Fredi's dying hallucinations. Applauded by Film Daily as 'a novelty done with class that should go over big anywhere' (November 17, 1929).

    Fredi made her screen debut in a highly fictitious tale where she is Duke's wife, battling to save him from bankruptcy.


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