Saturday, August 23, 2014

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Summer 2014 jazz film festival, part three

The original plan for this week to post some videos of Spyro Gyra and Mindi Abair, the headliners of the Eco Music Festival that had been scheduled for next Saturday at the Chesterfield Amphitheater.

But since that show was canceled a couple of days ago under somewhat mysterious circumstances, and the first of this year's "fall jazz preview" posts isn't ready yet, we're going to extend our summer jazz film festival for one more week, starting with a thorough look at one of Miles Davis' most important collaborators, the composer, arranger and pianist Gil Evans.

The first video up above is a 1997 documentary film about Evans, who arranged the music for Davis' Sketches of Spain, Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess, and other recordings in the late 1950s and early '60s.

After the jump, you can see two full shows of Evans' own orchestra. The first is from 1976 in Barcelona, Spain, and featuring Evans on electric piano with a band including Jon Faddis and Lew Soloff (trumpets), Janice Robinson (trombone), Bob Stewart (tuba), George Adams (tenor sax), John Clark (French horn), Pete Levin (synthesizer), Van Manakas (guitar), Mike Richmond (bass) and Sue Evans (drums).

The second was recorded just a couple of month before Evans' death in 1988 at the NYC club Sweet Basil, where the orchestra held forth every Monday night for more than five yeas in the 1980s.

Along with Evans himself, this expanded version of the band including his son Miles Evans, Lew Soloff and Shinzo Ono on trumpets; Dave Taylor and Dave Bargeron (trombones); Alex Foster (tenor sax); Chris Hunter (alto sax), John Clark (French horn), Tom "Bones" Malone (baritone sax, tuba), Gil Goldstein and Pete Levin (synthesizers); Hiram Bullock (guitar); Mark Egan (bass); and Danny Gottlieb (drums).

After that, it's Different Drummer, a brief 1979 documentary about drummer Elvin Jones that was produced and directed by filmmaker Edward Gray; and Earl Hines, a biographical look at the classic jazz pianist from 1975 that was directed by the Scottish TV documentarian Charlie Nairn and photographed by two-time Oscar winner Chris Menges.

We wrap up today's collection of clips with The Sound of Jazz, which was recorded in 1957 for the CBS television series Seven Lively Arts and was one of the first major programs featuring jazz to air on American network television.

The film features a veritable galaxy of jazz stars of the time, including Count Basie, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Billie Holiday, Jo Jones, Coleman Hawkins, Henry "Red" Allen, Vic Dickenson, Pee Wee Russell, Gerry Mulligan, Thelonious Monk, Jimmy Giuffre, and more.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

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