is Julian Benedikt’s third film about jazz
and it targets a better understanding of how
jazz came to Europe and how European musicians
have influenced jazz both in the USA and the
rest of the world. One of the problems in
producing a film of this topic is that there
is a scarcity of footage available to illustrate
the subject. Most of the films that were made
of music in jazz clubs were of a very poor
quality; not only are the images unclear,
but often the sound is even worse! This must
have given Mr Benedikt a real problem and
this has unfortunately resulted in a film
that is more ‘Talk’ your own thing, than ‘Play’
your own thing.
is an inaccuracy in a film of the Ellington
Band where Paul Gonsalves is confused with
Johnny Hodges, this is a minor point however
as most jazz fans would know the difference.
The fact that the film uses several languages
without sub-titles requires the viewer to
have a degree in modern languages, to get
the full benefit.
is some nice footage of Ben Webster and Kenny
Clarke playing together, followed by something
much more sombre from Miles Davis.
very good point is made about many of the
instruments used in jazz originating from
Europe, particularly from Adolphe Sax, who
invented one of the most dominant instruments
used in the genre.
parts of the DVD are used to try to justify
so-called ‘free’ jazz, which is mostly played
by people who were not good enough at the
‘real' thing! In some cases however, e.g.
Albert Mangelsdorff, they were brilliant jazz
players who went off on a weird tangent.
France and Scandinavia, the UK did not get
to hear many of the American Jazz Greats till
later in the day, because of the Musicians’
Union ban on visiting American musicians.
This did not seem to do the music any great
harm; there was a regular if small supply
of jazz records, which kept people happy.
There were also many British musicians working
for ‘Geraldo’s Navy’ on the transatlantic
ships of that time. As soon as they docked
in New York, the musicians made for the New
York jazz scene. Nevertheless world-class
performers such as Tubby Hayes, Johnny Dankworth,
Cleo Laine, Jimmy Deuchar, Tommy Whittle and
many others were produced.
it comes to Europeans influencing the USA,
surely the most important would be George
Shearing, who doesn’t even warrant a mention!
everyone interested in our great music, this
film is worth viewing because it stimulates
discussion. For me, I would have liked more