Live Jazz on radio had been around practically since radio was invented. But Jazz on TV was something new – and Jazz on Prime Time TV was even newer.
One of the biggest sponsors of early television was the Timex watch company, and beginning the night of December 30th 1957, they got into sponsoring live Jazz in a big way.
This first show, of what became a series of live broadcasts, features an all-star lineup and hosted by the inimitable Steve Allen, himself a Jazz fan and vigorous campaigner for more Jazz on the airwaves.
The group assembled for this get-together was legendary – Louis Armstrong, Gene Krupa, Cozy Cole, Jack Teagarden, Bobby Hackett, Dave Brubeck, June Christy, Duke Ellington, Carmen MacRae and Woody Herman with his Herd. Stellar line-up and all crammed into an hour – but it made for a lively hour.
Kinescopes of this broadcast have been floating around in collectors circles for some time – a limited edition private lp was issued shortly after the broadcast – this one comes from the original NBC transcription discs – and even though I haven’t heard the sound quality on all the other versions of this show, this one comes close to being there.
So enjoy this slice of Music History as it happened on December 30, 1957.