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THE LAST OF THE BLUE DEVILS

USA, 1979 (MIFF 1980, Programme 32)

Director: Bruce Ricker

The film tells the story of the music that came out of Kansas City in the twenties and thirties. Many of the major jazz innovators of the day played in a travelling band called the Oklahoma City Blue Devils. The Blue Devils took their name from the barb-wire cutters of the cattle-farmer range wars. Among them were Count Basie, Lester Young, Buster Smith, Eddie Durham, Jimmy Rushing, Walter Page, Hot Lips Page and Ernie Williams. Many of these great masters returned 40 years later to their old union hall in Kansas City. The film captures this reunion and thus tells the story of these musicians and their era through their music and words. It is a portrait of those legendary figures who created the Kansas City Sound, a sound that has carved a deep imprint in American culture.

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