“Kansas City” (1996): Best Jazz Movies
Robert Altman grew up in Kansas City; he had firsthand recollections of the nightclub scene, at the Hey Hay Club and elsewhere, there in the 1930s. The dapper Harry Belafonte plays the gangster Seldom Seen with uncharacteristic menace. As backdrop to a kidnapping plot, jazz giants including Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and Ben Webster are portrayed. Those performance scenes give the film its real vitality.