Television has yet to work out a living arrangement with jazz , which comes to the medium more as an uneasy guest than as a relaxed member of the family .
There seems to be an unfortunate assumption that an hour of Chicago-style jazz in prime evening time , for example , could not be justified without the trimmings of a portentous documentary .
At least this seemed to be the working hypothesis for `` Chicago And All That Jazz '' , presented on NBC-TV Nov. 26 .
The program came out of the NBC Special Projects department , and was slotted in the Du Pont Show Of The Week series .
Perhaps Special Projects necessarily thinks along documentary lines .
If so , it might be worth while to assign a future jazz show to a different department -- one with enough confidence in the musical material to cut down on the number of performers and give them a little room to display their talents .
As a matter of fact , this latter approach has already been tried , and with pleasing results .
A few years ago a `` Timex All-Star Jazz Show '' offered a broad range of styles , ranging from Lionel Hampton's big band to the free-wheeling Dukes Of Dixieland .
An enthusiastic audience confirmed the `` live '' character of the hour , and provided the interaction between musician and hearer which almost always seems to improve the quality of performance .
About that same time John Crosby's TV series on the popular arts proved again that giving jazz ample breathing space is one of the most sensible things a producer can do .
In an hour remembered for its almost rudderless movement , a score of jazz luminaries went before the cameras for lengthy periods .
The program had been arranged to permit the establishment of a mood of intense concentration on the music .
Cameras stared at soloists' faces in extreme closeups , then considerately pulled back for full views of ensemble work .
`` Chicago And All That Jazz '' could not be faulted on the choice of artists .
Some of the in-person performers were Jack Teagarden , Gene Krupa , Bud Freeman , Pee Wee Russell , Johnny St. Cyr , Joe Sullivan , Red Allen , Lil Armstrong , Blossom Seeley .
The jazz buff could hardly ask for more .
Furthermore , Garry Moore makes an ideal master of ceremonies .
( He played host at the Timex show already mentioned .
One of the script's big problems was how to blend pictures and music of the past with live performances by musicians of today .
NBC had gathered a lot of historical material which it was eager to share .
For example , there was sheet music with the word `` jazz '' in the title , to illustrate how a word of uncertain origin took hold .
Samples zoomed into closeup range in regular succession , like telephone poles passing on the highway , while representative music reinforced the mood of the late teens and 1920's .
However well chosen and cleverly arranged , such memorabilia unfortunately amounted to more of an interruption than an auxiliary to the evening's main business , which ( considering the talent at hand ) should probably have been the gathering of fresh samples of the Chicago style .
Another source of NBC pride was its rare film clip of Bix Beiderbecke , but this view of the great trumpeter flew by so fast that a prolonged wink would have blotted out the entire glimpse .
Similarly , in presenting still photographs of early jazz groups , the program allowed no time for a close perusal .
`` Chicago And All That Jazz '' may have wound up satisfying neither the confirmed fan nor the inquisitive newcomer .
By trying to be both a serious survey of a bygone era and a showcase for today's artists , the program turned out to be a not-quite-perfect example of either .
Still , the network's willingness to experiment in this musical field is to be commended , and future essays happily anticipated .
Even Joan Sutherland may not have anticipated the tremendous reception she received from the Metropolitan Opera audience attending her debut as Lucia in Donizetti's `` Lucia Di Lammermoor '' Sunday night .
The crowd staged its own mad scene in salvos of cheers and applause and finally a standing ovation as Miss Sutherland took curtain call after curtain call following a fantastic `` Mad Scene '' created on her own and with the help of the composer and the other performers .
Her entrance in Scene 2 , Act 1 , brought some disconcerting applause even before she had sung a note .
Thereafter the audience waxed applause-happy , but discriminating operagoers reserved judgment as her singing showed signs of strain , her musicianship some questionable procedure and her acting uncomfortable stylization .
As she gained composure during the second act , her technical resourcefulness emerged stronger , though she had already revealed a trill almost unprecedented in years of performances of `` Lucia '' .
She topped the sextet brilliantly .
Each high note had the crowd in ecstasy so that it stopped the show midway in the `` Mad Scene '' , but the real reason was a realization of the extraordinary performance unfolding at the moment .
Miss Sutherland appeared almost as another person in this scene : A much more girlish Lucia , a sensational coloratura who ran across stage while singing , and an actress immersed in her role .
What followed the outburst brought almost breathless silence as Miss Sutherland revealed her mastery of a voice probably unique among sopranos today .
This big , flexible voice with uncommon range has been superbly disciplined .
Nervousness at the start must have caused the blemishes of her first scene , or she may warm up slowly .
In the fullness of her vocal splendor , however , she could sing the famous scene magnificently .
Technically it was fascinating , aurally spell-binding , and dramatically quite realistic .
Many years have passed since a Metropolitan audience heard anything comparable .
Her debut over , perhaps the earlier scenes will emerge equally fine .
The performance also marked the debut of a most promising young conductor , Silvio Varviso .
He injected more vitality into the score than it has revealed in many years .
He may respect too much the Italian tradition of letting singers hold on to their notes , but to restrain them in a singers' opera may be quite difficult .
Richard Tucker sang Edgardo in glorious voice .
His bel canto style gave the performance a special distinction .
The remainder of the cast fulfilled its assignments no more than satisfactorily just as the old production and limited stage direction proved only serviceable .
Miss Sutherland first sang Lucia at Covent Garden in 1959 .
( The first Metropolitan Opera broadcast on Dec. 9 will introduce her as Lucia .
) She has since turned to Bellini , whose opera `` Beatrice Di Tenda '' in a concert version with the American Opera Society introduced her to New York last season .
She will sing `` La Sonambula '' with it here next week .
Anyone for musical Ping-pong ? ?
It's really quite fun -- as long as you like games .
You will need a stereo music system , with speakers preferably placed at least seven or eight feet apart , and one or more of the new London `` Phase 4 '' records .
There are 12 of these to choose from , all of them of popular music except for the star release , Pass In Review ( SP-44001 ) .
This features the marching songs of several nations , recorded as though the various national bands were marching by your reviewing stand .
Complete with crowd effects , interruptions by jet planes , and sundry other touches of realism , this disc displays London's new technique to the best effect .
All of the jackets carry a fairly technical and detailed explanation of this new recording program .
No reference is made to the possibility of recording other than popular music in this manner , and it would not seem to lend itself well to serious music .
Directionality is greatly exaggerated most of the time ; ;
but when the sounds of the two speakers are allowed to mix , there is excellent depth and dimension to the music .
You definitely hear some of the instruments close up and others farther back , with the difference in placement apparently more distinct than would result from the nearer instruments merely being louder than the ones farther back .
This is a characteristic of good stereo recording and one of its tremendous advantages over monaural sound .
London explains that the very distinct directional effect in the Phase 4 series is due in large part to their novel methods of microphoning and recording the music on a number of separate tape channels .
These are then mixed by their sound engineers with the active co-operation of the musical staff and combined into the final two channels which are impressed on the record .
In some of the numbers the instrumental parts have even been recorded at different times and then later combined on the master tape to produce special effects .
Some clue to the character of London's approach in these discs may be gained immediately from the fact that ten of the 12 titles include the word `` percussion '' or `` percussive '' .
Drums , xylophones , castanets , and other percussive instruments are reproduced remarkably well .
Only too often , however , you have the feeling that you are sitting in a room with some of the instruments lined up on one wall to your left and others facing them on the wall to your right .
They are definitely in the same room with you , but your head starts to swing as though you were sitting on the very edge of a tennis court watching a spirited volley .
The Percussive Twenties ( SP-44006 ) stirs pleasant memories with well-known songs of that day , and Johnny Keating's Kombo gives forth with tingling jazz in Percussive Moods ( SP-44005 ) .
Big Band Percussion ( SP-44002 ) seemed one of the least attractive discs -- the arrangements just didn't have so much character as the others .
There is an extraordinary sense of presence in all of these recordings , apparently obtained at least in part by emphasizing the middle and high frequencies .
The penalty for this is noticeable in the big , bold , brilliant , but brassy piano sounds in Melody And Percussion For Two Pianos ( SP-44007 ) .
All of the releases , however , are recorded at a gratifyingly high level , with resultant masking of any surface noise .
Pass In Review practically guarantees enjoyment , and is a dramatic demonstration of the potentialities of any stereo music system .
Many Hollywood films manage somehow to be authentic , but not realistic .
Strange , but true -- authenticity and realism often aren't related at all .
Almost every film bearing the imprimatur of Hollywood is physically authentic -- in fact , impeccably so .
In any given period piece the costumes , bric-a-brac , vehicles , and decor , bear the stamp of unimpeachable authenticity .
The major studios maintain a cadre of film librarians and research specialists who look to this matter .
During the making recently of an important Biblical film , some 40 volumes of research material and sketches not only of costumes and interiors , but of architectural developments , sports arenas , vehicles , and other paraphernalia were compiled , consulted , and complied with .
But , alas , the authenticity seems to stop at the set's edge .
The drama itself -- and this seems to be lavishly true of Biblical drama -- often has hardly any relationship with authenticity at all .
The storyline , in sort , is wildly unrealistic .
Thus , in `` The Story Of Ruth '' we have Ruth , Naomi , and Boaz and sets that are meticulously authentic .
But except for a vague adherence to the basic storyline -- i.e. , that Ruth remained with Naomi and finally wound up with Boaz -- the film version has little to do with the Bible .
And in the new `` King Of Kings '' the plot involves intrigues and twists and turns that cannot be traced to the Gospels .
Earlier this month Edward R. Murrow , director of the United States Information Agency , came to Hollywood and had dinner with more than 100 leaders of the motion picture industry .
He talked about unauthentic storylines too .
He intimated that they weren't doing the country much good in the Cold War .
And to an industry that prides itself on authenticity , he urged greater realism .
`` In many corners of the globe '' , he said , `` the major source of impressions about this country are in the movies they meet .
Would we want a future-day Gibbon or Macaulay recounting the saga of America with movies as his prime source of knowledge ? ?
Yet for much of the globe , Hollywood is just that -- prime , if not sole , source of knowledge .
If a man totally ignorant of America were to judge our land and its civilization based on Hollywood alone , what conclusions do you think he might come to ? ?