Monday, February 20, 2017

Ornette: Made in America (1984)

While certainly flawed, this film comes closer than any other I've seen to an accurate cinematic representation of jazz. Shirley Clarke's editing has a great sense of rhythm that perfectly marries sound and vision. But she also understands the importance of solos. Sometimes the music gets to be front and center. Sometimes the visuals are allowed to take the lead. It's a delicate tapestry of new and old media that is filled to the brim with recurrent themes that are both aural and visual. Even the incorporation of video games seems to suggest the ways in which jazz assimilates new styles and techniques. As far as I know Shirley Clark didn't play an instrument, but through this film she pulls of a remarkable duet with one of American Music's most original voices ever.

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