In a blackened, still industrial city, the spirit of a vibrant Newcastle jazz and R&B scene is alive and kicking in this colourful snapshot of a student Xmas dance with live bands at Rank’s Majestic Ballroom. A fascinating clash of pop cult fashions is on show – art school beatnik, Teddy boy, and a new mod style. An exciting final montage captures the dazzling range of styles and steps on the dance floor that night.
The post-WW2 trad jazz revival was still at a commercial high when these Newcastle College of Further Education students danced to local bands River City Jazzmen and Mighty Joe Young Jazzmen. But earlier that year the Beatles had played The Maj, as it was affectionately known, and traditional jazz was considered old school. This amateur film by members of Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers’ Association, formed in 1927, was shot when the American R&B-influenced beat and blues boom gripped the city’s music scene, its working class and art school roots personified by Walker lad Eric Burdon and the Animals. This film’s sound track was added later and does not feature the bands on stage that night.
North East Film Archive is one of a network of regional film archives established to collect, preserve and show film made in, or about the North East of England. Our collections are non-fiction, and date from the early 1900s to the present day, providing a rich record of life in the region over the 20th century. Many of our films are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.