Venetians are lucky when it comes to jazz history. Every year, the stellar jazz historian/film scholar Mark Cantor presents an amazing program at Beyond Baroque.

Join us on Sunday Oct 22 at 6pm (live music) and 7pm for films at 681 N. Venice Blvd, free admission.

This very special evening will feature Abbey Lincoln, Dakota Staton, Woody Herman, Jack Teagarden, Dupree Boulton, Phil Woods, Adele Girard and many others.

Mark Cantor writes: “There are many ways to look at these films: as historical documents, as pieces of music to study and analyze, as a “time machine” to past performance styles and different social perspectives. For me, however one of the most important things about jazz on film is that it allows us to come together as a collective audience and enjoy together the wide variety of swinging, engaging, and creative music caught on film over a period of more than a century. The styles may change, but the groove remains the same.”

We are grateful to Cantor’s generous spirit to resonate the gathering of the Venice tribe to celebrate community peace, love and MUSIC. Cantor is known for decades of brilliantly curating the Playboy Jazz Film Festival. Mark will frame the clips with detailed introductions that put these short films into context. His down-to-earth personality shines with an infectious love for music, especially the healing and jubilant force called “jazz.” Mark’s appealing enthusiasm enhances the screening of these rare clips, many of which cannot be seen on Youtube. Do not miss this opportunity to be both entertained and educated.

As a preview, I suggest you visit Mark’s website and view some of his offerings. One gem is the swinging Ali Baba Trio doing “Your Feet’s Too Big,” which is familiar to most as the Fats Waller classic (actually written by Ada Benson and Fred Fisher), from 1946 at the Zanzibar Room in the Florentine Gardens, Hollywood, CA. Mark suggests that you’ll also check out these gems: “47th Street Jive” (Roy Milton and his Band), “Blues of Mary’s Flat” (Mary Osborne), “Let Me off Uptown” (Gene Krupa with Roy Eldridge and Anita O’Day) and “Night Train to Memphis” (Jimmy Wakely).

Also available is the highly recommended book by Mark Cantor: The Soundies: A History and Catalog of Jukebox Film Shorts of the 1940s (McFarland Press, 2023).
His website has extensive “Additions and Corrections” evincing Mark’s dedication to the comprehensive and accurate catalog/inventory of Soundies shorts. Cantor’s contact email is

Here’s more on his archives: Celluloid Improvisations is an archive of jazz (and jazz influenced and/or related) music preserved on 16mm sound film, videotape, laserdisc, DVD and various digital formats. The collection includes close to 8,000 separate performances, and while the archive’s holdings focus on jazz, they also include such related forms of American music as blues, Swing, Western Swing, “pop,” rhythm and blues, country-western, vernacular dance, vaudeville and variety arts, etc.

In addition to the preservation of music performance on film, one of the major focuses of the archive is gathering and evaluating as much information as possible about each of the films. A significant emphasis is placed on the identification of soundtrack musicians and on-screen (sideline) performers, including musicians, dancers and variety artists. Close attention is also paid to recording and sideline dates, and production personnel.

Films from the Archive have been shared publicly over the past forty-five years for a wide variety of sponsors, including Playboy Enterprises, The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, The International Association of Jazz Record Collectors, Monterey Jazz Festival, California African-American Museum, Academie du Dance (Paris, France), Healdsberg Jazz Festival, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Festival de Popoli (Florence, Italy), Rio de Janiero Festival of Jazz on Film, Sponto Gallery, Beyond Baroque and many others.
Along with the public exhibitions of jazz films Mr. Cantor has served as a consultant in the production of a large number of documentaries and feature films, as well as books and magazine articles related to music on film. His footage has been widely used by television/documentary/CD-ROM/web site and DVD producers, and has been seen in dozens of presentations, including the Academy Award-nominated A Great Day In Harlem and Ken Burn’s documentary Jazz.

Mr. Cantor was a professional educator who taught all levels of school from kindergarten through college extension. He retired from teaching in 2011. He has written liner notes for jazz recordings and has assisted in their production. His book on Panoram SOUNDIES, is the definitive work on these “music videos” (juke box film shorts) of the 1940’s. As a well-known authority on the subject of jazz on film Mr. Cantor is regularly contacted by filmmakers, television producers, newspersons and writers for information relating to jazz music and its documentation on film.

Mark joined Brad Kay on my podcast “I’m probably wrong about everything.” View the episode JAZZ ON FILM on youtube Brad points out that the Zanzibar Room in the Florentine Gardens was the spot where “Fats” Waller played his last gig in December of 1943. He expired on the train home.

Mr Kay plays exceptional jazz at The UnUrban 3301 Pico Blvd, every Sunday (except the second) from noon to 5pm.

For more fiery jazz conversation, I was recently on Cathy Segal-Garcia’s podcast NOONTIME HANG

Do not miss Saturday, Oct 7- Venice Heritage Museum Film Festival at 228 Main St, Venice I will show a ten minute history of Sponto Gallery with rare film clips.

I welcome your input: Gerry Fialka

SUNDAY, Oct 22, 2023, 6pm-live music (WITH SPECIAL GUESTS- John Rosenberg-piano, Carol Chaikin-sax, Suzy Williams-vocals), 7pm-films at Beyond Baroque –
An Evening of Music Films with Mark Cantor: “I’ve Just Gotta See It But It Ain’t On YouTube Blues”

Categories: Venice

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