Saturday, July 16, 2016

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Favorite jazz documentaries

As sometimes happens in mid-summer, the next couple of weeks in St. Louis are looking relatively uneventful with regard to touring jazz performers visiting our town. So this week, StLJN is going to take a break from our regular, locally focused sort of Saturday post to share some some favorite jazz films that can be viewed for free online.

Today's first movie, embedded up above, is The Last of the Blue Devils, a 1979 documentary about the history of Kansas City jazz directed by Bruce Ricker and starring Jay McShann, Count Basie, Big Joe Turner, and various other notable KC musicians.

After the jump, you can see Blue Note: A Story of Modern Jazz, a 1997 documentary about the famed record label that helped establish the careers of many jazz greats, followed by 1959: The Year that Changed Jazz, a film produced in 2009 by BBC Four that looks at how four key albums released in the titular year affected the course of music for the next half-century.

The remaining three films offer more in-depth looks at individual musicians, starting with Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser, a 1988 documentary about the pianist and composer that was directed by Charlotte Zwerin.

Next up, you can see Ornette: Made In America, director Shirley Clarke's 1985 film about saxophonist Ornette Coleman and the opening of the Caravan of Dreams performance center in Fort Worth, TX.

Last but not least, it's Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise, director Robert Mugge's look at the pianist, bandleader, and cosmic philosopher that was released in 1980.

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

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