Category: Music

February 11, 2024 / Documentary

This television essay from 1985 was written by Leonard Bernstein to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Gustav Mahler’s birth. Recorded in Israel, Vienna and later in London, it is punctuated by biographical interludes and illustrated by musical examples drawn from the cycle of Mahler’s works recorded by Bernstein. Bernstein talks, plays and conducts various orchestras (Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Wiener Philharmoniker) and soloists (Janet Baker, Christa Ludwig, Edith Mathis, Lucia Popp, Walton Groenroos) in performances spanning 17 years.

February 11, 2024 / Documentary

DIFFERENT DRUMMER is a short documentary directed by Edward Gray about Jazz great Elvin Jones. In it he talks about his early days with John Coltrane (with whom he’s seen performing in a ’60s film clip) and pianist Bud Powell. He also performs drum solos and an original piece, “Three Card Molly,” with Ryo Kawasaki (guitar), Pat LaBarbera (sax) and David Williams (bass).

September 13, 2023 / Comedy

A look at the lives of several struggling L.A. musicians. Gwen, a singer-songwriter, is on a quest for the big-time. Working as an assistant to a film production designer, Gwen tries to steal her boss’ boyfriend, a veteran rock producer. The producer, meanwhile, is trying to orchestrate a comeback for an ’80s band.

July 29, 2023 / Documentary

Beatles’ “significance” pushed to the breaking point in this bizarre documentary that juxtaposes their songs (sung by a number of rock stars) with World War II newsreel footage. Helen Reddy sings “Fool On The Hill” while Hitler relaxes at Bertchtesgaden, and Rod Stewart husks “Get Back” while Nazi troops goose step.

May 16, 2023 / Documentary

A documentary covering the R&B (rhythm and blues) field from the 1940s to the early 1950s. Included is footage of performances by major R&B singers of the time, and interviews with singers, producers and others involved in the field.

April 12, 2023 / Drama

Saxophonist Danny witnesses the murder of his band manager and a deaf-mute girl after a gig. Questioned by the police, he remembers only the orthopedic shoes of the killers’ leader. So begins his quest to avenge her. He seeks an answer to the simple question ‘Why?’ but finds only more, and deeper, questions which resonate with the wider context of ‘the Troubles’, the inter-communal strife gripping the modern-day Northern Ireland which is the film’s setting.

January 31, 2023 / Music

When personal and creative differences threaten to destroy a musical supergroup during the recording of an album, studio guitar player McQueen is brought in to smooth out the tracks. Soon he is reconsidering the direction of his life as he dreams of the elusive brass ring.

June 23, 2022 / Biography

An insightful illumination of author Paul Bowles’ original and lesser-known career as an avant-garde composer, Owsley Brown’s Night Waltz is an elegant and soulful document of discovery. Interviewed in Morocco during the last months of his life, Bowles journeys back to his early years as a contemporary and occasional collaborator of other such iconic figures as Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson and Orson Welles. Bowles’ uncut compositions–performed by the Eos Orchestra–are punctuated with stunning visual essays by filmmakers Nathaniel Dorsky and Rudy Burckhardt. Long after retiring from his more well-known profession, Bowles kept music as a vital part of his life, tapping out fresh rhythms on his Tangier table tops until the end of his days.