Cornelia Lund and Holger Lund address the lack of academic engagement with Roger Tilton’s film Jazz Dance (1954) through an evocative study of both the means and techniques used by Tilton and collaborators, and the aesthetic approach to the combination of jazz music and jazz dance. Drawing on their art, film and media backgrounds, the authors not only bring together a critical and detailed analysis of the film’s production, but also transport the readers into frenetic scenes recorded in only one night. As with the previous article by Alan Ainsworth, Lund and Lund question academic silences and processes of value and evaluation in their consideration of the ‘glorious state of unorderly in-between’, here encapsulated within Jazz Dance. (Sarah Raine, Editorial)
In the history of documenting music, Roger Tilton’s film Jazz Dance (1954) is an outstanding experimental approach to early direct cinema. By using a novel, genuinely audio-visual, non-staged, multi-angled approach to recording, the film opened up new ways to capture the vibes of the filmed event and thus turn jazz into film. This article seeks to remedy the lack of academic engagement with Jazz Dance by outlining its status as a seminal example for early direct cinema as well as documenting jazz and jazz dance. To that end, the means and techniques chosen by Tilton and his collaborators to convey the impression and vibe of jazz as well as the aesthetic approach to the combination of jazz dance and music in the film will be analysed. Furthermore, Jazz Dance will be discussed and positioned within in the larger field of documentary films that bring together jazz music and dance.