The Cry Of Jazz

The talk and the music in Edward O. Bland’s eccentric 1959 Chicago-made short are equally important. The paradox is that Bland’s film centers on jazz and needs various kinds of performance to illustrate its points, yet what’s being played by Sun Ra and others is only adequate; if the music were good enough to distract one from the talk, the film wouldn’t work as well. Lucid and provocative, this is recommended viewing for any jazz novice, one of the best social readings of jazz form I know. 31 min. (JR)

Published on 24 Nov 2006 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Happy Feet

Let’s see if I have this straight: in an animated tribe of penguins who talk and sing like inner-city residents, Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood) can’t sing but can tap-dance like crazy. When the tribe starts ailing due to lack of fish, he follows the aliens netting the fish all the way to the city, where he discovers that his dancing just might persuade them to stop overfishing. This curious ecological parable was directed by George Miller (Babe: Pig in the City), who still has an eye and a sense of humor but on this particular outing can’t get the script he wrote with three others to make much sense. Other voices include those of Hugh Jackman, Robin Williams, Nicole Kidman, and Brittany Murphy. PG, 98 min. (JR)

Published on 10 Nov 2006 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Rare and Revelatory

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Published on 10 Nov 2006 in Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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