Sun Ra Concert Films
A Joyful Noise
Runtime: 59 minRobert Mugge filmed jazz great Sun Ra on location in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. between 1978 and 1980. The resulting 60-minute film includes multiple public and private performances, poetry readings, a band rehearsal, interviews, and extensive improvisations. Transferred to HD from the original 16mm film and lovingly restored for the best possible viewing experience.
Sun Ra Top Tracks
Solos: The Jazz Sessions
Runtime: 48 minWith his unique and recognizable style, pianist Matthew Shipp worked and recorded vigorously during the 1990s, creating music in which free jazz and modern classical intertwine. He first became known in the early '90s as the pianist in the David S. Ware Quartet, and soon began leading his own dates - most often including Ware bandmate, leading bassist William Parker - and recording a number of duets with a variety of musicians, from the legendary Roscoe Mitchell to violinist Mat Maneri, who began appearing on recordings in the 1990s. Through his range of live and recorded performances, and unswerving individual development, Shipp came to be regarded as a prolific and respected voice in creative music by the decade's close.
Classic Albums: Apostrophe & Over-Nite Sensation
Runtime: 50 minThe Classic Albums series strives to be definitive, and this must-have program is fully authorized in the scope of its coverage. With complete cooperation and participation from the remaining Zappa family (sons Dweezil and Ahmet, daughter Moon, and widow Gail are all extensively interviewed) and additional interviews with Billy Bob Thornton, Alice Cooper, guitarist Steve Vai, veteran Rolling Stone critic David Fricke, and many of Zappa's closest associates and collaborators, this 97-minute documentary is packed with highlights and fascinating revelations, like the pristine precision of Zappa's hand-written compositions, Zappa's childhood fascination with the compositions of Edgard Varse, and his diligent, prolific, and disciplined, drug-free approach to recording and touring. Zappa's studio process is amazingly revealed when Dweezil and Zappa "Vaultmeister" Joe Travers sit down at a mixing table to analyze the master tapes of classic Zappa tracks like the hilariously controversial "Dyna-Moe Humm." In addition to vintage archival clips of Zappa discussing his music and career, and home movies of Zappa's band on tour during the mid-1970s, this program also includes the complete video of Zappa performing "I'm the Slime" on Saturday Night Live in 1976, live footage of a 1973 performance of "Montana," and a new performance of "Camarillo Brillo" by Dweezil's tribute band, Zappa Plays Zappa (with Dweezil playing one of his father's favorite Gibson guitars). Bonus features also include a Travers-hosted trip into the massive Zappa archives, and further deconstruction of Zappa tracks "Dirty Love" and "Nanook Rubs It." If you're a casual Zappa fan, this program will turn you into a passionate convert. For those who've loved Zappa all along, it's a little bit of heaven here on Earth.
Epitaph: Live from Lincoln Center
Runtime: 2 hr 20 minOn June 3rd, 1989, the Alice Tully Hall at New York's Lincoln Center was the venue for the world premiere performance of Charles Mingus' masterpiece "Epitaph". Conductor Gunther Schuller directed 30 musicians in what the New York Times described as "One of the most memorable jazz events of the decade". The piece had been discovered after Mingus' death in 1979 and painstakingly restored and copied. It is the largest and longest piece for jazz orchestra ever written and is now available here on film for the first time.
All The Notes
Runtime: 1 hr 12 minCecil Taylor is the grand master of free jazz piano. All the Notes captures in breezy fashion the unconventional stance of this media-shy modern musical genius, regarded one of the true giants of post-war music. Taylor is first seen musing over Santiago Calatrava's architecture; the pianist's famed eclectic interests extend from soloing, combo and small orchestra work to spoken word performance.
Live in Munich
Runtime: 1 hr 2 minFor more than 50 years, trumpeter/bandleader Miles Davis was a major innovator of cool, modal, avant-garde, and fusion jazz styles. This program captures Davis's band: alto saxophonist/flutist Kenny Garrett, Keyboardists Robert Irving III and Adam Holzmann, lead bassist Joseph "Foley" McCreary, and bassist Benjamin Rietveld, percussionist Marilyn Mazur, and drummer Ricky Wellman, live in Munich, Germany on July 10th, 1988. With these musicians' sympathetic and syncopated support, Davis's trademarked Harmon-muted trumpet tones dance and trance over the combo's supple electric swing. Throughout the concert, Davis glides across the stage with the elegance and power of a dancer and a fighter, huddling with his sidemen to play and share a phrase. Interview snippets with Davis feature the trumpeter frankly discussing his other passion, artwork. All told, Miles in Munich shows that the man called "Prince of Darkness" was full of artistic light near the end of his creative life.
Runtime: 52 minThe Jazz Sessions spotlights Andrew Hill, a great and even groundbreaking composer and pianist. While many of his contemporaries were totally jettisoning the rhythmic and harmonic techniques of bop and hard bop, Hill worked to extend their possibilities; his was a revolution from within. He exhibited a determined command of his materials, however abstract they might sometimes be. His composed melodies were labyrinthine, rhythmically and harmonically complex tunes that exhibit a sophistication born of mastery, not chance or contingency.