Todd Decker

in Music Makes Me

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780520268883
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950061 | DOI:

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Fred Astaire filmed his first dance solo in a Hollywood musical to the sound of a live jazz jam session. The occasion, a momentous one in hindsight, was by Hollywood standards a genuine jazz encounter. The date was September 7, 1933; the film, Flying Down to Rio; the song, “Music Makes Me (Do the Things I Never Should Do).” The musical and choreographic content of this routine, when put beside archival evidence for how the number was made, provide a foretaste of Astaire's remarkable four-decade career dancing on screen. “Music Makes Me”—the finished film dance and the process behind its creation—also encapsulates the larger themes of this book, which details how music of a particular kind—for now, call it jazz—lay at the heart of Astaire's creative life as both dancer and dancemaker on film. Astaire's first film solo offers a prism for his creative life, a life as much about music as it was about dancing and filmmaking.

Keywords: Fred Astaire; jazz; Flying Down; Music Makes Me; dancing; filmmaking; musical; Hollywood

Chapter.  6442 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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