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March 25, 2015 2:13 PM   Subscribe

A TV pilot which failed to attract sponsors, After Hours carries all the poignance of a noble lost cause. Despite a certain self-consciousness in presentation, which clearly aims at winning over a recalcitrant audience, some of the best jazz ever recorded on film is available here. After an opening montage devoted to Manhattan jazz clubs accompanied by the narrator’s patter (“This is my beat — the jazz beat”), one is introduced to the ‘cigarette girl’ and ‘doorman’ at the “After Hours Club,” complete with fictional glosses (the girl is an “aspiring actress”). But as soon as Coleman Hawkins enters, joins the rhythm section on the bandstand and launches into a gorgeous version of “Lover Man,” the film properly gets down to business.
Jonathan Rosenbaum on After Hours (1961), featuring Johnny Guarnieri, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, Barry Galbraith, Milt Hinton, Cozy Cole, and Carol Stevens.

(After Hours has spent the past fifty years passing through various bootleg formats and foreign transfers, which is probably why the version linked is labeled "The Great Jam Session 1958" and subtitled in French. I felt this particular upload had better sound than either of its more accurately labeled rivals.)
posted by Iridic (8 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Oh my God. I love this so much.
posted by maxsparber at 3:08 PM on March 25, 2015

Is the doorman smoking a reefer?
And how about Carol's crown?
I wish there were many more of these.
posted by Jode at 4:23 PM on March 25, 2015

This is phenomenal! Thanks so much for posting it!
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 4:33 PM on March 25, 2015

And if I'm not mistaken it sure sounds a lot like the legendary radio DJ and jazz aficionado, the late, great William B. Williams (from the old WNEW-AM, New York) narrating. Those of a certain age will know who I mean....
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 4:41 PM on March 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think the "actorish spectators" (or "headwaiter" and "doorman") are Al Minns and Leon James (or "Al & Leon") -- worth checking out on YouTube.
posted by uosuaq at 5:41 PM on March 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

So good to experience this excellent little film with reasonable sound quality, Iridic. Thanks for the post.

[Full credits in the first link, by the way.]
posted by On the Corner at 1:27 AM on March 26, 2015

This is fantastic—thanks for posting it! I could listen to Milt Hinton and Cozy Cole for a long time, with or without soloists. By the way, anyone not familiar with Hinton's wonderful photographs should check them out; I've got Bass Line: The Stories and Photographs of Milt Hinton (Temple University Press, 1988), and I highly recommend it.
posted by languagehat at 7:49 AM on March 26, 2015

I know enough about television history and supposed commercial viability to understand why this pilot never made it to a series order, but I feel pretty comfortable saying that the world would have been better if this had made it to American screens.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:22 AM on March 26, 2015

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