Monday, February 25, 2013

Jonathan Rosenbaum: An Index

Jonathan Rosenbaum (image courtesy of TimeOut)

This post indexes those articles by Jonathan Rosenbaum that are related to jazz, whether in form of "film and jazz," or few cases of pure jazz writing.

Last update: July 22, 2014


Film Criticism                                        

"[The] difference between Claire Denis's early work and Beau travail is quite simply the difference between making movies and making cinema. By analogy, Charlie Parker went from playing jazz with Jay McShann to making music with his own groups, and that quantum leap included content and substance as well as technique — matter and manner became indistinguishable. Denis too has developed a new kind of mastery while tackling a new kind of material." -- JR

  • Bird Watching: about Charlie Parker films. In this article, Rosenbaum reviews Clint Eastwood's Bird and Garry Giddins' Celebrating Bird. In the meantime, some swinging descriptions are given of Birdland 1951 broadcast and the only TV appearance by Parker, from 1952.
  • An American in Paris: the review of Round Midnight (directed by Bertrand Tavernier, loosely based on Bud Powell's life, starring Dexter Gordon)
  • Black and Tan: review of the classic Ellington film, directed by Dudley Murphy, which was subject to a curious case of plagiarism in an Ellington book.
  • Jazz ‘34: Remembrances of Kansas City Swing: a (hardly seen) Robert Altman film reviewed. Also, a good wealth of information about Jammin' the Blues film has been incorporated there.
  • Jazz Soundies and other numbers from the 1940s: Soundies are now very easy to access (most of them are on YouTube), but back in the 1970s JR's critique of the series must have been very valuable to researchers and scholars.
  • Born to Swing: this one is from 1974 and the musicians discussed are those of Basie orchestra.
  • Too Big for the Screen: on Charles Mingus: Triumph of the Underdog. [if the link to JR's website didn't respond, try to reach it on Chicago Reader's homepage.]
  • On Pete Kelly's Blues about a cornet player in a Dixieland band in 1927 Kansas City, starring Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald (as well as Jack Webb who also directed the film, Edmond O’Brien, Janet Leigh and Lee Marvin as a jazzman!)
  • Jazz: The Intimate Art 
  • On Bruce Webber's cult, black and white documentary on Chet Baker, Let's Get Lost.



Just Jazz                                               

"It’s a matter of personal preference rather than any sort of objective judgment that I’m especially interested in piano players, that my taste mainly runs to post-swing, and that I’m generally more partial to Ahmad Jamal and Keith Jarrett playing standards than to these gifted pianists playing their own tunes." -- JR




General Essays and Lists             

"It's difficult to speak of any consistent evolution or devolution in jazz films, because each one is the product of a particular taste and sensibility. One rule I use when evaluating these films is how much we're allowed to follow the music. Another rule, less obvious and more purist, is how important the on-screen listeners are — which matters a good deal, because jazz at its most exciting is a collective experience involving the audience as well as the interacting musicians. If the people on-screen aren't seen listening when music is being played, we're discouraged from listening intently." -- JR

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