Les Blank On Jazz

Oct 19 - Oct 20, 2013

(16mm, 161 min)

We couldn't let this year's Earshot Jazz program come and go without an appearance from the late, great documentarian Les Blank, who passed away earlier this year. 

While we've already honored Les with a program in our NEX DOCS series this past June, Blank's contribution to the music documentary subgenre is unparalleled. His films celebrate not merely the art, but also the communal culture that sustained it (all of it interwoven with romantic flair and wry good humor). Tonight we screen a short profiling the great jazzman Dizzy Gillespie, as well as Blank's portrait of New Orleans' soulful street music at Mardi Gras.  More than anything, Blank's films urge us to live life to the fullest, while we still can. Sounds like Jazz to us. 

Dizzy Gillespie 
(Les Blank, USA, 1965, 16mm, 22 min)
Rare images of the immortal bebop jazzman Dizzy Gillespie, as he talks about his beginnings and music theories—and blows a lot of hot music on his famous bent horn.

Always for Pleasure 
(Les Blank, USA, 1978, 16mm, 99 min)
An intense, insider’s portrait of New Orleans’ street celebrations and unique cultural gumbo: including second-line parades, Mardi Gras and the Jazz Fest. Features live music from Professor Longhair, the Wild Tchoupitoulas, the Neville Brothers and more. This glorious, soul-satisfying film is among Blank’s special masterworks.

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