Film & TV Lunch Club: April 2021 - All That Jazz

This month we're celebrating all things jazz! Through film, we'll learn about different eras, the jazz greats and the evolution of this musical genre.


The shortlist was voted on by club members and these three films will be discussed at our monthly meet up at the end of the month. All the options were strong so the long list will come in especially handy this month! You can read about International Jazz Day (30th April) here: jazzday.com


🎞April Selection🎞

  1. What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015; Dir: Liz Garbus) Documentary, Biography, Music: A documentary about the life and legend Nina Simone, an American singer, pianist, and civil rights activist labeled the 'High Priestess of Soul'.

  2. Soul (2020; Dir: Pete Docter, Kemp Powers) Animation, Adventure, Comedy: After landing the gig of a lifetime, a New York jazz pianist suddenly finds himself trapped in a strange land between Earth and the afterlife.

  3. Some Like It Hot (1959; Billy Wilder) Comedy, Music Romance: After two male musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.

🎬The Long List: Optional Extras🎬 Other notable films/TV shows suggested for the theme - watch if you can or at a later date:

  • Billie (2019) - Documentary on the famed jazz singer Billie Holiday.

  • Ray (2004) - The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.

  • Cabaret (1972) - A female girlie club entertainer in Weimar Republic era Berlin romances two men while the Nazi Party rises to power around them.

  • The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021) - F-Rated - Follows Holiday during her career as she is targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics with an undercover sting operation led by black Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher, with whom she had a tumultuous affair.

  • Chicago (2002) - Two death-row murderesses develop a fierce rivalry while competing for publicity, celebrity, and a sleazy lawyer's attention.

  • Jazz Baroness (2009) - F-Rated - The true story of a British heiress's love for jazz genius Thelonious Monk.

  • Billie (2019) - Documentary on the famed jazz singer Billie Holiday.

  • The Jazz Singer (1927 or 1980) - The son of a Jewish Cantor must defy the traditions of his religious father in order to pursue his dream of becoming a jazz singer.

  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) - During a recording session, tensions rise between Ma Rainey, her ambitious horn player and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable "Mother of the Blues".

  • I Called Him Morgan (2016) - An exploration of the relationship between jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan and his common-law wife Helen, who was implicated in his murder in 1972.

  • Miles Ahead (2015) - An exploration of the life and music of Miles Davis.

  • Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes (2018) - F-Rated - A revelatory, thrilling and emotional journey behind the scenes of Blue Note Records, the pioneering label that gave voice to some of the finest jazz artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.

  • Born to be Blue (2015) - A re-imagining of jazz legend Chet Baker's musical comeback in the late '60s.

  • Monica Z (2015) F-Rated - The world famous Swedish jazz singer, actress and icon Monica Zetterlund's life through stardom and hardship.

  • Alfie (1966) - An unrepentant ladies' man gradually begins to understand the consequences of his lifestyle.

  • Whiplash (2014) - A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student's potential.

  • Chico & Rita (2010) - Chico is a young piano player with big dreams. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and romantic desire unites them, but their journey - in the tradition of the Latin ballad, the bolero - brings heartache and torment.

  • New Orleans (1947) - A gambling hall owner relocates from New Orleans to Chicago and entertains his patrons with hot jazz by Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Woody Herman, and others.

  • New York, New York (1977) - An egotistical saxophonist and a young lounge singer meet on VJ Day and embark upon a strained and rocky romance, even as their careers begin a long, uphill climb.

  • All That Jazz (1979) - Director/choreographer Bob Fosse tells his own life story as he details the sordid career of Joe Gideon, a womanizing, drug-using dancer.