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Visual jazz.
July 14, 2008 6:32 AM   Subscribe

(Follow-upFilter) It's rare that jazz videos venture beyond filming live performances. This makes the exceptions all the more notable. Animation seems the medium of choice: from George Griffin's 1988 paper collage for Charlie Parker's "Ko Ko" to Len Lye's swinging The Lambeth Walk (1939), or (stretching musical definitions just a bit) his 1958 masterpiece "Free Radicals". More recent jazz seems to fit just as well: witness Lung's psychotic piece for Ladyscraper's "Thou Art Fucking Dead".

Unofficial jazz videomakers have also picked up on the animation vibe, setting John Zorn's "Caligula" to Robert Breer's 1957 piece "A Man And His Dog Out For Air", creating a fan-film-direct for Pierre Henry's futuristic "Psyche Rock", or even just re-editing Disney's "Elephants on Parade" to Sun Ra's version of the tune.

But there are non-animated jazz videos, too: take the Lounge Lizards' "Big Heart", self-directed by John Lurie; or Henry Hills' "Naked City" for John Zorn's "Batman"; Meredith Monk's "Churchyard Entertainment", or even, on a lighter note, Dizzy Gillespie in "A Date with Dizzy" (1956).

If these are too short for your visual jazz appetite, you could try long-form works such as Manfred Kirchheimer's beautifully meditative 1979 film "Stations Of The Elevated with its (counter-)punctuations of Mingus, John Coney's 1972 sci-fi documentary on Sun Ra "Space Is The Place", or Humbert & Penzel's Fred Frith fresco "Step Across The Border" (previously).
posted by progosk (11 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Excellent post! Some really fun stuff here.
posted by caddis at 8:29 AM on July 14, 2008


Thanks, progosk--some neat stuff here.

If you like jazz and animation, you might enjoy the work of John and Faith Hubley, and the jazz::animated blog.
posted by box at 9:50 AM on July 14, 2008


Bookmarked for exploration. Thanks so much for the post.
posted by jokeefe at 12:38 PM on July 14, 2008


Awesome, but now I have to install quicktime, damn.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:54 PM on July 14, 2008


Norman McLaren's Begone dull care is pretty much the benchmark for this style of thing.
posted by Wolof at 6:59 PM on July 14, 2008


Gjon Mili films Lester Young in Jammin' the Blues.
posted by jonp72 at 8:35 PM on July 14, 2008


Just to note that it's often the best posts that accumulate the fewest comments. Thanks again.
posted by jokeefe at 9:59 PM on July 14, 2008


jonp72: well-shot performances are actually the rarest pearls of all, thanks for that one. Wolof, box: I wanted to avoid too much previousing, but - yeah. Oh, and: jokeefe? 'preciated.
posted by progosk at 11:25 PM on July 14, 2008


Nice post, by the way, thanks a lot.
posted by Wolof at 11:26 PM on July 14, 2008


A johnny-come lately: a brief but tasty rendition of Salt Peanuts, by immensely talented animator Marc Sutherland. (via anipages.)
posted by progosk at 2:20 PM on July 21, 2008


Oh, ok, just one more: Joni Mitchell's The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines, by Tim Jerram.
posted by progosk at 2:39 PM on July 21, 2008


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