The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong AND Cry of Jazz | Chicago Reader

The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong AND Cry of Jazz

According to Scott Yanow's book Jazz on Film, John Alomfrah's British documentary The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong (2001, 65 min.) is marred by the interviewees—among them George Melly, Wynton Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, Max Roach, Gary Giddins, and Lil Hardin Armstrong—talking over the music. By contrast, both the talk and the music in Edward O. Bland's eccentric Chicago-made short Cry of Jazz (1959, 31 min.) are absolutely essential. The paradox is that Bland's film centers on jazz and needs various kinds of performance to illustrate its points, yet what's being played is only adequate; if the music were good enough to distract one from the talk, the film wouldn't work as well. Lucid and provocative, this is recommended viewing for any jazz novice, one of the best social readings of jazz form I know.

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