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Music Appreciation 101, part 5: The Talent Behind the Screen

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There are a great many movies where an actor will pretend to be performing onscreen, but in reality there is another musician doing the actual performance. As brass players, many of notice people doing a not-so-good job of pretending. Some are better than others.


One of the more famous examples is in the Benny Goodman story, where Steve Allen is the actor playing Goodman. Benny was a famous jazz clarinet player, and Steve Allen actually was an amateur clarinetist, so his pretending is pretty convincing as Goodman provides the soundtrack music.


Some of the items mentioned in this post can be found here:


Amazon Music Appreciation Store


Others did not do so well. In the clip below, the woman is pretending to be a trumpet player whose talents have not been known or appreciated by her companions. The trumpet playing is provide by the great British studio musician, Kenny Baker.





One of the most famous of these hidden performers is Marni Nixon. You hear her voice behind other actresses in the King and I, Mulan, West Side Story, My Fair Lady and others. She actually is seen in the Sound of Music as one of the nuns.





The last clip here is Kirk Douglas in the movie Young Man with a Horn, which is about the life of Bix Beiderbecke. The trumpet music is provided by Harry James.





Someday I may start a forum topic about the worst pretenders "performing" a brass instrument in a movie.

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