Long before music videos completely disappeared from MTV’s line-up and even before Debbie Reynolds’ unholy hammer swinging alliance with Scopitone, there were the soundies. Soundies were a series of (mostly) musical short films made to be played on Panoram visual jukeboxes. More than 1800 were released between 1940 and 1947 and if you love them as much as I do, you can view many of them on archive.org.
“C Jam Blues,” the song featured in this 1942 soundie, was written by Ellington and recorded during what is known as the band’s Blanton-Webster period. Double bassist Jimmy Blanton and saxophonist Ben Webster were only in The Duke Ellington Orchestra from 1940-1942 but many people call those two years the orchestra’s golden age. This film names almost every musician individually which was almost unheard of at the time but these men were all famous enough to warrant it. Sadly, the unnamed bassist featured in this video is not Blanton. He was probably either very ill or already dead by the time this was filmed. He contracted tuberculosis and died in July of 1942. He was 23. Ben Webster left the band the following year. Apparently there was an ugly fight where Webster cut up one of Ellington’s suits! (So says Wikipedia with a cautious  thereafter)