StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: A jazz documentary film festival


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Though this weekly feature typically previews concerts by bands and musicians coming to St. Louis in the near future, the next couple of weeks, alas, are pretty much devoid of touring acts of interest. So we're taking the opportunity to offer some programming for a lazy summer weekend in the form of a mini-festival of jazz documentaries available online.

The first selection, seen in the video window up above is 1959: The Year That Changed Jazz, a well-received BBC documentary that looks at the changes in jazz that started in 1959 as exemplified by four recordings released that pivotal year: Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, Dave Brubeck's Time Out, Charles Mingus' Mingus Ah Um, and Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come.

You can see A Great Day in Harlem, a 1994 documentary about one of the most famous photos of jazz musicians in history- a picture taken by photographer Art Kane in 1958 for Esquire magazine, in which he depicted 57 of the top musicians of the time in front of a building on 126th Street in New York City. The film was nominated in 1995 for an Academy Award for Documentary Feature.

That's followed by To Bop or Not To Be: A Jazz Life, a 1990 documentary about Dizzy Gillespie by Norwegian director Jan Horne; The Universal Mind of Bill Evans a 1966 documentary featuring the famed pianist talking about the creative process; Music In The Key Of Oscar, a 1992 Canadian biographical documentary about pianist Oscar Peterson; and Saint John Coltrane- A Love Supreme, a BBC film about the saxophonist from 2004.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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