Daniel Goldmark, associate professor of music at Case Western Reserve University is the Murphy Colloquium presenter.
Title: The Musical Roots of The Jazz Singer
The Jazz Singer grew from the kernel of an idea—specifically Samson Raphaelson’s observation, on hearing Al Jolson sing in 1917 : “My god, this isn’t a jazz singer. This is a cantor!” Raphaelson transformed his idea into the short story “Day of Atonement” (1922 ), followed in turn by the successful play The Jazz Singer (1925 ) and finally the 1927 feature.
Using newly discovered archival materials, I survey the tangled musical history of this pivotal film musical, drawing together music from a variety of sources, including nineteenth-century melodrama and operetta, Tin Pan Alley, and Jewish liturgy.
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