Film: 872

Music | 1950 | Sound | B/W


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Charlie Barnet and his Orchestra play a piece of music to the camera's audience in a energetic Big Band or swing style 1950's

A bandleader - presumably Charlie Barnet (C.B.) dressed in a grey tweed jacket and black tie, and holding a clarinet in his left hand, stands in front of a dance band in what is possibly a studio set-up of a night-club - raises his right arm into the air and as he drops it, a piano, double bass and drum start to play a slow rhythm offscreen in a Jazz/swing/Big Band style. The whole orchestra is revealed - 16 all-white male players; to the left a man sitting at a piano, one sitting amongst a drum set and one standing with a double bass, and directly behind C.B. three ascending rows of seated players - the top row comprising five trumpet or cornet players, the middle row housing three trombonists, and five saxophonists in the front row - all wearing matching white dinner jackets and black bowties - the trumpet players stand up and their instruments are prominent on the musical soundtrack.

A close-up of three of the trumpet players standing in a row - the entire band's instruments are now heard on the soundtrack, playing an uptempo, brass-based melody without vocals. From his position at the left of the top row, a trumpet player moves down to the central row where he holds his instrument upwards into the air and places a muffler into it. A close-up of the trumpet soloist standing in front of the other trumpet players who sit down as he begins a melancholic and slow tempo sequence of notes, watched by the other band members. The soloist is now seen alongside the drummer, C.B. comes briefly into shot, smiling and bouncing to the rhythm of the band. The soloist ends his melody and moves back to his original position in the band - the C.B. white emblem is visible on the front of what appears to be dark velvet material on the front of the saxophonists stands - only the player on the right is playing the tune. C.B. moves around in front of the saxophonists, swinging his right arm to the music, keeping the band in rhythmic harmony whilst the solo trumpet player moves behind the drummer. The soloist is now playing at a higher frequency and with a faster rhythm, and without the use of the muffler. A close-up of the soloist as he leans away from his upturned instrument, holding onto the notes for longer periods - the sound is prominent on the soundtrack.

The drummer turns his head to the left, presenting his profile to the trumpet soloist behind him, and then glances right - the camera follows his view and pans to the orchestra where C.B. is now playing his clarinet - his instrument is heard above all others on the soundtrack as he stands on a fixed spot with his back towards the band. A shot of the entire band. A close-up of C.B. - the members of the second and third row prepare to play their instruments behind him. A close-up of two of the trombonists, playing staccato notes. A close-up of C.B. playing a counterpoint melody which is more complex and intricate than the dominant tune - he has a moment of sonic isolation as the other band members cease playing for two seconds. The saxophonists watch C.B. with smiles on their faces whilst the top row quickly, and in unison, flip their sheet music over.

A close-up of the drummer whose slow methodical rhythmic beats contrast with the frantic tempo of the clarinet and brass instruments. A close-up of C.B. , as he occasionally closes his eyes whilst playing his clarinet without the aid of sheet music. C.B. moves his body, shifting his stance as his solo rendition comes to an end - the beat from the other instruments continues unabated. A close-up of C.B. - a high frequency note restarts his solo effort. A close-up of two trombonists, the one on the left bouncing in his chair to the rhythm of the music. Close-up of C.B. looking directly into the camera. Close-up of the two trombonists as before - the one on the right shakes his head to the staccato notes. Close-up of C.B. whose face grimaces as he concludes his segment, whilst behind him the trumpet players stand up.

A panning shot left to right of the trumpet players who play short, quick notes in unison with the drummer. The rhythm's beat becomes stronger and faster as the trombonists stand up and C.B. bounces on his feet as he turns to face them. Close-up of the drummer as he leads a more decisive beat. The trumpets reach a high note whilst the trombones play a four note melody, twice in quick succession. Close-up of the trombonists, now bouncing on their feet to the music. Close-up of C.B. facing the camera, playing the clarinet and leading the band and their music to a climax as he sustains a middle note for three seconds - he raises his whole body and he drops his arms to his sides, the members end their playing in unison.

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