Released on Netflix in late 2020, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom features Uptown Jazz Orchestra as the behind-the-scenes sounds of Ma’s band as they work to produce a studio album in Chicago in the 1920s. The film, based on the August Wilson play of the same name, tells the story of Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, the “Mother of the Blues” (played by Viola Davis), as she navigates issues of inequity and racism as a Black woman finding success in both a white and male dominated music industry. Concurrently, the story highlights the struggles of Ma’s trumpet player, Levee (played by the late Chadwick Boseman in his final film), as he battles his own demons, both inside and out.
The soundtrack for the film was created by Branford Marsalis, with Delfeayo Marsalis and Uptown Jazz Orchestra serving as both the sound of the band and music outside the studio. Scott can be heard playing lead trumpet in several scenes.
Branford Marsalis discusses creating the soundtrack with Pitchfork and American Songwriter. Catch cameos of Uptown Jazz Orchestra on Netflix’s related film, Becoming Ma Rainey.