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Jazz in Summertime

Buoyed by the response to our January 1999 jazz series, the HFA comes back with some new and rare choices, and repeats several January favorites.

June 8 (Tuesday) 7:00 pm

The Connection

Directed by Shirley Clarke
USA 1961, b/w, 35mm, 103 min.
With William Redfield, Carl Lee, Roscoe Lee Brown

Decades before Sundance, a genuinely independent feature by maverick Shirley Clarke, from the Jack Gelber Off-Broadway drama. A bunch of junkies stand around waiting for "the man" while a documentarian (Redfield) films their activity. Every once in a while, some of the bunch play some jazz. One of these jazzmen (who appeared in the play) is sax maestro Jackie McLean.

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June 28 (Monday) 7:00 pm

Imagine the Sound

Directed by Ron Mann
Canada 1981, color, 16mm, 92 min.
With Taylor, Shepp, Dixon, Bley

An exuberant profile of four legendary figures associated with the jazz avant-garde of the 1960s— Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Bill Dixon, and Paul Bley. Shepp speaks of Malcolm X and Coltrane, Bley and Dixon discuss jazz and dance, Taylor talks his own poetry. "The best documentary on free jazz that we have"-critic Jonathan Rosenbaum.

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July 5 (Monday) 9:15 pm

Anything for Jazz: Jaki Byard

Directed by Dan Algrant
USA 1980, b/w, 16mm, 25 min.
With Byard, the Apollo Stompers

With sorrow over Byard’s recent death, the HFA reprises a Boston interlude with the fascinatingly idiosyncratic pianist. The performances include Byard solo and with his big band, the Appolo Stompers. (The filmmaker, Algrant, was then a Harvard student.)

Stan Getz: A Musical Odyssey

Directed by Herbert Dorfman
USA 1978, color, video, 60 min.
With Getz, and others

In 1977, the saxophone virtuoso spent three weeks in Israel jamming with local musicians, including a Kurdish drummer, an Arab quartet, a Hassidic wedding band, and a Yemenite dance troupe. As the late Getz once told Herb Alpert: "When I’m playing, I think of myself in front of the Wailing Wall."

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July 12 (Monday) 9 pm
July 13 (Tuesday) 9 pm

The Bill Evans Trio

Directed by Jonathan Beyer
USA 1979, color, video, 58 min.
With Evans, Joe LaBarbera, Marc Johnson

Filmed a year before Evans’s untimely death at age 51, this concert at the Maintenance Shop at Iowa State University shows the pianist in command, playing with control and grace. Songs include "Who Can I Turn To?" and "Some Day My Prince Will Come," and the consummate closer, "Nardis."

Lift the Bandstand: Steve Lacy

Directed by Peter Bull
USA 1985, color, 16mm, 50 min.

Lacy just might be the finest soprano sax player of them all, and this film includes not only Lacy’s performances but those musicians who influenced his sound: among them, Gil Evans, Sidney Bechet, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk. The last showed Lacy the way to "lift the bandstand."

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July 19 (Monday) 9:15 pm

Mystery, Mr. Ra

Directed by Frank Cassenti
USA 1984, color, video, 51 min.
With Ra, John Gilmore, Marshall Allen

Shot in France, an eye-popping visit with Sun Ra—bandleader, keyboardist, composer, cosmic messenger, self-made interstellar myth—and his wildly-costumed Solar Arkestra. The songs go from Coleman Hawkins’ classic "Blue Lou" to a free-form, torching "Tea for Two" to the futuristic "Nuclear War" and "1984."

The Art Ensemble of Chicago

Directed by Susan Markle
USA 1981, color , video, 50 min.
With Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell, Malachi Favors Maghostut

Jazz avant-garde’s reigning quintet perform in quasi-African costumes, masks and face paint, surrounded by drums, gongs, toys, anything to make a musical noise, as they go caroming through the history of jazz. "One of the most intelligent of jazz documentaries" -Jon Pareles, The New York Times. 

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July 26 (Monday) 9:30 pm
July 27 (Tuesday) 9:30 pm

The Universal Mind of Bill Evans

Directed by Louis Carvell
USA 1966, b/w, 16mm, 45 min.
With Bill Evans, Harry Evans, Steve Allen

An extraordinary moment of live television: the normally reticent Evans in intense conversation with his composer brother, Harry, about the nature of creativity in jazz. The music hops from "Time Remembered" to "Spartacus Love Theme." "Evans’ rap is a stream of ideas that issue forth like shamanistic lore."-Gary Giddins.

Monk in Oslo

Directed by Harold Heide Steen, Jr
NORWAY 1966, B/W, video, 33 min.
With monk, rouse, Larry Gales, Ben Riley

This eloquently stark concert film produced by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation shows the mercurial Thelonious Monk at the height of his powers, masterminding a quartet featuring his longest-lasting collaborator (1959-1970), tenor saxist Charles Rouse. The repertoire includes famous Monk compositions, dazzlingly performed: "Round Midnight," "Blue Monk." 

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