John Hammond:  From Bessie Smith to Bruce Springsteen

A biography about the man credited with integrating popular music. 

Director- Hart Perry
Line Producer- Dana Heinz Perry

photo top: John Hammond with Bob Dylan

photo left: John Hammond as a young man

PBS American Masters 1990- A portrait of John Hammond, the man who made Bessie Smith, Lionel Hampton, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan famous.In doing so, he changed the musical tastes of the American people and struck a major blow to racial segregation.

photo: Bruce Springsteen, John Hammond and Hart Perry
Narrated by actor Ossie Davis, the one hour film features Hammond reminiscing about life and career, that spanned the period from the early 1930’s to his death in 1987, and talking with many of the artists he worked with.

Among those interviewed are musicians Count Basie, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Milt Hinton and Buck Clayton, poet Allen Ginsberg, writer Nat Hentoff and Hammond’s sister Rachel Breck.

Peabody Award
Cine Golden Eagle

SCREENINGS: London Film Festival, Florence Film Festival

"[A] superb documentary... vibrant and convincing... [Director] Perry captures a sense of joy and exuberance that so clearly was at the very heart of Hammond's admiration for the artist he championed." -Variety


Perry Films