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Jazz Feel in New York Film

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Jazz was so potent in the 1950s that young experimental filmmakers in New York tried to express the improvisational feel with motion and abstraction. I've been doing a bit of research lately on the subject. Here are four of the best by the New York school of filmmakers with a fifth as a bonus.

Here's D.A. Pennebaker's Daybreak Express, inspired by Duke Ellington's recording. The 15-minute film, from 1953, captured New York's Third Ave. elevated train two years before it was torn down, with Ellington's music as a backdrop...



Here's Francis Thompson's N.Y., N.Y. from 1957, a collection of New York scenes that he captured with a special kaleidoscopic lens...



Here's Shirley Clarke's Bridges-Go-Round from 1958, featuring a montage of New York's bridges with superimposition. (In 1961, Clarke would film The Connection, with pianist Freddie Redd and alto saxophonist Jackie McLean)...



And here's William Klein's Broadway by Light, from 1958, which gives you a sense of Martin Scorsese's inspiration for the nocturnal Times Square scenes in Taxi Driver...



Bonus: Here are musical selections from Shirley Clarke's The Connection. Clarke died in 1997...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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