IMDb > American Blue Note (1989)

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American Blue Note -- It's 1961 and Jack Solow dreams of having his own band playing the jazz clubs of New York City.  His reality is auditions that lead to gigs at weddings and out of town dives.  He's got one year to make it or the band will dissolve.


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Jack, Nat, Jerry, Lee and Tommy play jazz in small clubs, but only one of them will reach success. | Add synopsis »
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Well Presented And Affecting Film. See more (2 total) »


  (in credits order)

Peter MacNicol ... Jack Solow
Carl Capotorto ... Jerry

Tim Guinee ... Bobby
Bill Christopher-Myers ... Lee

Jonathan Walker ... Tommy
Charlotte d'Amboise ... Benita
Louis Guss ... Abe Katz
Zohra Lampert ... Louise

Margaret Devine ... Sharon

Trini Alvarado ... Lorraine
Sam Behrens ... Nat Joy

Eddie Jones ... Sean Katz
Maury Cooper ... Popi
Jeff Weiss ... Uncle Leon
James Puig ... Jimmy

Mel Johnson Jr. ... Ron

Roma Maffia ... Marie
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Stephen Jordan ... Bartender

Todd McDurmont ... Groom

Directed by
Ralph Toporoff 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Gilbert Girion  story
Gilbert Girion 
Ralph Toporoff  story

Produced by
Gilbert Girion .... associate producer
Bill Hart .... associate producer
Ralph Toporoff .... producer
Original Music by
Larry Schanker 
Cinematography by
Joey Forsyte 
Film Editing by
Jack Haigis 
Casting by
Stanley Soble 
Production Design by
Charles M. Lagola 
Art Direction by
Katherine Frederick 
Costume Design by
Nina Canter 
Makeup Department
Nina Port .... makeup department head
Production Management
Dennis Kiely .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Mike Liston .... assistant director
Sound Department
Robert A. Sacchetti .... boom operator
Dale Whitman .... sound mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Melvin Pukowsky .... dolly grip
Music Department
Jack Haigis .... music editor
Larry Schanker .... music arranger

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
97 min
Color (Technicolor)
Sound Mix:

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
Well Presented And Affecting Film., 5 February 2005
Author: rsoonsa ( from Mountain Mesa, California

Essentially a series of interjoining episodes such as may be found in a collection of short fiction wherein are portrayed common characters, this film has nary an uninteresting moment as it chronicles the attempts from a saxophone playing head of a jazz quintet, Jack Solow (Peter MacNicol) to locate steady employment for his musicians, not an easy task within a highly competitive entertainment environment. The veteran cinematographer and film school mentor Ralph Toporoff directs this work, reflecting in its close attention to detail his knowledge of the scenario's subject and, when scenes are basically melodrama, Toporoff along with members of his cast and crew successfully address them in a naturalistic fashion. Intriguing personal elements are introduced into the episodic script that stand very well on their own, aided by sensitive playing from the well-selected cast, smoothly implemented camera setups, and clever utilization of sparse resources, as evidenced in footage concerning a wedding. The quintet members begin to lose confidence that a gig will be found along New York City's jazz nucleus, 52nd Street, their worries exacerbated by a discouraging and ongoing series of frustrating auditions and weekend non-jazz jobs, but Jack steadfastly believes that the five will be hired into a desirable night spot if they will remain persistent. A jazz-flavoured sound track is, in the main, work of pianist Larry Schanker who helms a talented collection of sidemen through his scoring, abetted by top-flight editing from Jack Haigis. The film is nicely cast, with no unpolished performance, acting laurels going to Trini Alvarado for an outstanding turn as girl friend of the group's drummer, Bobby (Tim Guinee); Zohra Lampert and Roma Maffia give intense readings in their lone scenes while Guinee in addition to Carl Capotorto as the quintet keyboard man are excellent as is Margaret Devine in a small role as a bemused waitress; Charlotte d'Amboise, daughter of famous dancer Jacques, is winning with her performance as Jack's romantic interest. The film's setting is New York's Jersey suburbs during the early 1960s, with correct and evocative costuming, design, and autos served ably by creative camera-work from Joey Forsyte. Although theatrically released in many sections of the United States, and later shown twice on cable television, this work is unjustly neglected, in spite of its substantive cinematic worth, and lack of clinkers.

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