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Bessie Smith and Friends

-- Synopsis:
     Bessie (4/15/1894 – 9/26/1937) born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, unfortunately died at the young age of forty-three in a tragic auto accident, was known as the Empress of the Blues. She was a proté gé of an earlier blues singer named Ma Rainey. This 1929-1942 Classic film clips compilation done in 1986 of Bessie Smith in "St. Louis Blues" (1929) which is the only filmed appearance of Bessie Smith. Also on this compilation is "Bye Bye Blackbird (Pie Pie Blackbird)" (1932) stars Nina Mae McKinney and Tap Dance with the Nicholas Brothers and Eubie Blake and His Orchestra.

   And "Boogie Woogie Dream" (1941) with a young Lena Horne, as well as boogie woogie pianists Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson, and Teddy Wilson's Band. The DVD At The Jazz Band Ball has Bessie Smiths clip as well.

* Features:
     The only dancing in this video is with the very, very young Nicholas Brothers doing an early Tap Dance routine in this film, they are only kids here. So if you are a Nicholas Brothers fan, Tap or early Jazz Music enthusiast, this is a great find. Also has some dancing Waiters in St Louis Blues.

More Film Information below





1929-1942 Bci Eclipse Company n/a [DVD | VHS]


Country Made:



39 minutes USA English Black and White


Featured Dancer

Featured Dance

Dance Rating

Compilation / Music Nicholas Brothers Tap Dance Very Good

Known Dancers


Actors / Actresses

Nicholas Brothers Specialty Dancers Lena Horne
    Nina Mae McKinney

Dances performed in this film   

Special Dance Interest

Tap Dance n/a n/a Jazz Music History
    Tap Dance History
    Dancing Waiters

Some Music Titles in Film

Bands / Musicians / Singers

Posters / Lobby Cards

Boogie Woogie Dream < Lena Horne n/a
Bye Bye Blackbird < Eubie Blake & Orchestra, Nina Mae McKinney    
St. Louis Blues < Bessie Smith    
  Albert Ammons    
  Pete Johnson    
  Teddy Wilson's Band    

Stage versions of the film

Similar Videos with Bessie


Sheet Music Covers

Doesn't Apply At The Jazz Band Ball (dvd version) n/a n/a

Books Available on this film ...

Title Author Date Published Publisher
n/a n/a - -


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