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October 3, 2005
Library Celebrates Work of Jazz Filmographer with Screening of 'Jam Session'
The Library of Congress will present a screening of "Jam Session" (Columbia, 1944) at 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7, in the Mary Pickford Theater, third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event, sponsored by the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, is free and open to the public. No tickets are required, but seating is limited. Reservations should be made by phone at (202) 707-5677. Reserved seats must be claimed at least 10 minutes before show time, after which standbys will be admitted.
"Jam Session" is being shown in honor of David Meeker, former archivist for the British Film Institute (BFI), whose filmographic database "Jazz on the Screen" includes this film plus some 14,000 other motion picture, television and video productions. He will be on hand to introduce the film, which features such notables as Louis Armstrong, Charlie Barnet and Jan Garber.
"Jazz on the Screen" builds on Meeker's book "Jazz in the Movies," now in its third edition. Essentially a filmography of jazz musicians' screen work, the database features more than 1,000 major jazz figures, including active participation by an individual musician where he or she contributed creatively to the production, or where a jazz work is used on a soundtrack—with or without their credit or attribution.
Now available online, the Library of Congress Web version of "Jazz On The Screen" brings this research up to date in a fully searchable database, available free of charge. Produced as part of the Library’s "I Hear America Singing" digital library of music, theater and dance, the database is available at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cocoon/ihas/html/jots/jazzscreen-home.html and through the Library’s Moving Image Reading Room Web site at http://www.loc.gov/rr/mopic/.
A member of the Royal Air Force from 1953-1955, Meeker joined the British Film Institute staff in 1961 where he managed the Central Booking Agency and supplied films and programming advice to film societies, schools, colleges, universities and the National Film Theatre in London until the early 1980s. He served as archivist of fiction film until his retirement in December 2000.
Meeker was honored with a Distinguished Mention at the British Film Institute Special Awards in 1981 for his work on jazz and cinema. That same year, the Polish Jazz Society awarded him with a bronze medal. In 1997 Her Majesty the Queen of England bestowed upon him the honor of Member of the British Empire for his work with BFI’s National Film and Television Archive.
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