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Customer Discussions > Jazz forum

Jazz musicians/singers = actors [?]

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Showing 1-25 of 32 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 4, 2013 5:47:46 PM PST
There have been country singers (Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, etc.) and rockers (Sting, Elvis) that've "become" actors, but what jazz performers are also actors? I can think of a few: Med Flory (Supersax), Jack Sheldon, Annie Ross (I think), Louis Armstrong, Dudley Moore (was established on the UK jazz scene before his acting career took off)...what others...?

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 2:18:13 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2013 2:18:24 PM PST
Nikica Gilic says:
Chet Baker appeared in films in Italy, Dexter Gordon in Tavernier's "Round MIdnight"... Gerry Mulligan had a good role in a bad film ("Subterreans" I think)...

Posted on Jan 7, 2013 12:30:48 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 7, 2013 6:12:56 AM PST
Ali Haluk says:
regardin tavernier's film, there are many more appearences; including f. hubbard, h. hancock, r. carter... and if you watch carefully you can even see jacky terrason as an audience while others are playin in a club...

Posted on Jan 7, 2013 6:00:54 AM PST
jazz fan says:
Dexter Gordon was also in "Awakenings."

Posted on Jan 7, 2013 6:29:13 AM PST
Ms. 90 says:
Joe Williams, Nancy Wilson, and Dizzy Gillespie were all on the Cosby Show.
Harry Connick, Jr.

Posted on Jan 9, 2013 3:52:02 AM PST
Why is it that, I wonder, that posters cannot resist moving away from the whole focus of the topic? The point being that appearing in a musical interlude shot in a movie or on the Cosby show isn't exactly pursuing a second or even occasional career as an actor now is it?
Pleeeeease stick to the topic of the thread!!!!!!

Posted on Jan 10, 2013 7:58:42 AM PST
Harry Connick Jr has appeared in quite a few films. And Cab Calloway appeared as a regular character in the Blues Brothers film.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2013 8:10:19 AM PST
Mr. P says:
Della Reese.....Nat King Cole [in Cat Ballou etc.].....Ray Charles in Ballad In Blue.....

Music Makers: Ballad in Blue

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2013 11:52:49 AM PST
Robert Cox says:
Surely Frank Sinatra deserves a mention.

Posted on Jan 11, 2013 1:56:11 PM PST
jazz fan says:
Oh, and of course Dean Martin.

Posted on Jan 11, 2013 1:57:20 PM PST
I recall that Ray Charles appeared in a humorous cameo role in The Blues Brothers, as did Aretha Franklin. Duke Ellington had a few spoken lines in Anatomy of a Murder, but maybe not sufficient to qualify him as actually acting in that movie. Likewise, Louis Armstrong in Paris Blues.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2013 2:17:53 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 11, 2013 2:24:45 PM PST
Dino's not really a jazz singer....BUT Barney Kessel DID play w/ him (in a quartet!) on the platter "Dream With Dean"! TO my knowledge the only album Dino did with a (small) jazz group, fyi.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2013 2:18:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 11, 2013 2:20:51 PM PST
I forgot Harry...he was a scary white-trash serial killer in a movie w/ Sigourney Weaver! [can't recall title just now]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2013 3:22:56 PM PST
Nikica Gilic says:
Copycat, I think...

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2013 3:31:29 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 11, 2013 3:32:18 PM PST
Robert Cox says:
I don't think I would include Dean Martin on this thread. However I would include Mel Torme who incidentally appeared with Frank Sinatra in a film called "Higher and Higher" which was a "first time" appearance for both of them.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 8:18:20 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013 8:23:59 AM PST
Bobby Darin...... Let me count the ways (his talents).

Award winning actor, Golden Globe Award for "New Star Of The Year - Actor" for his role in Come September in 1962; television acting from Wagon Train to Rod Serling's Night Gallery to Ironside, Burke's Law and more. Produced, directed and writer for The Vendor (1969). I thought he had written some tv scripts for Serling and others.

I still think "Beyond the Sea" (and his "Nature Boy") are among the greatest vocal recordings ever.

You can nominate Bobby for a postage stamp and locate hard to fine cds and dvds at

From the vaults at Amazon:
That's All: Bobby Darin on Record, Stage and Screen (Rock and Roll Reference Series, No 38) (Rock & Roll Reference Series)
That's All: Bobby Darin On Record, Stage & Screen, Revised and Expanded Second Edition

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 8:26:52 AM PST
Della Reese as an actress, 1968-2012:

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 9:00:36 AM PST
Mr. P says:
Thats all good Frank.....but Darin aint Jazz!!

He was a pop crooner who may have done watered down pop versions of Jazz choonz but Jazz it dont make. Now, Della Reese....thats JA2theZZ!!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 9:19:38 AM PST
Mr. P says:
Ella Fitzgerald in...

Ride Em Cowboy
Pete Kelly's Blues
St. Louis Blues
Let No Man Write My Epitaph

The White Shadow

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 11:07:44 AM PST
Mr P.

I also consider the wealth of the decades of output by Georgie Fame with side-cats like Guy Barker, Jim Mullen, Simon Spillet and Alan Skidmore to be jazz. He certainly grew beyond the pop r'n'b of the early Flamingo Club outings. I also consider the Van Morrison work since he took up residence in Marin County, CA in the 70's to be of a jazz nature, that sometimes horrible hybrid jazz-rock. I will not belabor his list of sideman nor how his compisition "Moondance" which has become an evergreen over time in the hands of many an aspiring and accomplished jazz singer.

Maybe it's because I lived in Las Vegas for several decades and experienced the endeavors of great jazz players relegated to lounge work and occasional LA movie gigs. Maybe it's because I have always found the jazz of Louis Prima to have as great value as listening to Evan Parker blowing a fusilade of neverending similar and repetitive scales of notes.

Bobby Darin came a long way from the rockers like "Splish Splash" and "Multiplication" and the teenage heart throb output of "Dream Lover" to record albums like Darin at the Copa and Bobby Darin Sings Ray Charles and That's All. He became a cultured big band singer who gave us jazzy renditions of "Clementine", Beyond the Sea", "Black Coffee", "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise", "Caravan", "It Ain;t Necessarily So", "I'll Remember April", "That's All", "Feelin' Good", and, of course, "Mack the Knife".

I recommend you open your ears and give a listen to:
Darin at the Copa
Bobby Darin Sings Ray Charles (US Release)
Love Swings
Swingin the Standards
Two Of A Kind (US Release) - a collaboration with Johnny Mercer - need I say more?

You can hear Della Reese announce her version of Bobby Darin's song "Funny What Love Can Do" at . Della also sings another Darin penned song at -
"A Simple Song of Freedom."

As long as I have realized that I have an addiction for great music of many a genre, as long as it has been performed with soul, sincerity, feeling, harmony, meaning, warmth... I could go on. You just have to listen and sometimes you have to FREE YOUR MIND from preconceptions.

A closing treat: Charles Mingus: Freedom from the Town Hall Concert

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 1:07:26 PM PST
Robert Cox says:
When it comes to "swing" Bobby Darin was at the top of his game. Was it jazz? Of course it was. He was right up there with Sinatra.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 1:15:15 PM PST
Robert Cox says:
How about Rosemary Clooney? She made many films and recorded some great albums with Concord. Her strength was her interpretation of a song. Like Darin she stuck to the melody so many jazz buffs who look for improvisation in an artist would rate both of them lowly.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 9:39:33 PM PST
YEAH, Della R was a semi-regular on "Chico & The Man"~!

Darin may've not "technically" been a jazz singer, but he could SWING!

Mel Torme played a murderer on some 1960s lawyer TV show (one of the stars was Burl Ives, I recall)!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 6:03:01 AM PST
Baron says:
What about Frank Sinatra?

Posted on Jan 16, 2013 7:20:41 AM PST
What about Frank Sinatra?

I actually liked the 2 Tony Rome movies. But I have always been partial to the Phillip Marlowe - PI noir genre.

And the Manchurian Candidate was somethin' else.
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Discussion in:  Jazz forum
Participants:  13
Total posts:  32
Initial post:  Jan 4, 2013
Latest post:  Jan 19, 2013

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