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Music Movies

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message 1: by Tentatively, (new)

Tentatively, Convenience (tentativelyaconvenience) I finally checked out "Enclosure 7: Harry Partch" wch includes a documentary about Partch called "The Dreamer that Remains: A Portrait of Harry Partch" & a movie of one of Partch's big theatrical productions: "Delusion of the Fury: A Ritual of Dream and Delusion".

For those of you not familiar w/ Partch: he was a gay hobo composer who made his own instruments & tuned them to a 43-notes-to-the-octave Just Intonation scale. The instruments are very sculptural, &, as Partch was fond of saying: "corporeal".

These movies are a must-see-&-hear for any serious student of 20th century music.

Today I checked out "Norman Granz: Jazz in Montreux: Mary Lou Williams '78". Williams was a great jazz pianist who died in 1981 & whose career (or so the story goes) started when she was 6 in the early 20th century. I never pd much attn to her until I hear a recording of her playing w/ jazz pianist great Cecil Taylor. WHAT A COMBINATION!
Taylor is much more up my ear canal but hearing Taylor & Williams play together made me realize how totally in tune w/ each other they both were & what virtuosos they both were. AMAZING.

Anyway, Williams, like Art Tatum, played a repertoire that included pop hits that I'd usually avoid ("Over the Rainbow", "Tea for Two", etc..), but, again like Tatum, her flowing 'note-perfect' technique is so mind-boggling that anythign she plays is a pleasure for me. Just her arpeggiations alone are worth it.

As for the movie? Well.. it's not exactly inspired - it's just the usualy plethora of camera angles on the subject - basically made-for-tv-ish drek. Still.. Williams what I was witnessing it for anyway so it was fine. As an amateur pianist it was a treat to check out Williams just 3 yrs before she died.

message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 16, 2008 11:11AM) (new)

Cecil Taylor is great--Too bad the film is sub par. I have a fantastic album of Cecil Taylor and Roswell Rudd (great free jazz trombonist)'s awesome.

And I have never heard of Partch but he sounds incredibly interesting.

It's an enormous departure from the types of films you're talking about but the BBC made a very good short (hour or so) documentary on the seminal post-punk/art-rock/what-have-you band The Fall called "The Wonderful and Frightening World of Mark E. Smith." It's very elucidating despite the fact that Smith's accent and general drunken slur makes him almost entirely incomprehensible. But it's very interesting to see career spanning videos, interviews, and to just follow the progression of (what I think is) one of the most original bands of all time. But they didn't exactly create their own instruments and tune them to a 43 note to the octave(!) scale.

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