Love it or hate it, all the buzz around La La Land at least has people talking about jazz. The award-winning juggernaut is your classic boy meets girl story that does tip its hat to Hollywood’s golden age. If musicals aren't your thing and you are on the hunt to add a few new jazz films to your viewing list, we’re partnering with the folks at the Vancouver International Film Centre to present films films about the lives of jazz greats later this month and in June.
John Scheinfeld’s superb Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary (2016) is an engrossing account tracing the life and legacy of legendary player and composer. With interviews by close collaborators including Cornel West and Bill Clinton. A must see for all Trane fans.
A fascinating crime story from the point of view of Helen More, widow of jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan, I Called Him Morgan exposes a haunting yet moving jazz tragedy, by Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collin.
The feature directorial debut by Don Cheadle, Miles Ahead who also takes on the role of Miles Davis with Ewan McGregor and Lakeith Stanfield. An unconventional biopic that might play loose with the facts but is still notable for Cheadle’s strong work on both sides of the camera.
Bill Frisell, A Portrait (2017) premiered at SXSW earlier this year. Director Emma Franz digs deep into the development of Frisell’s music with rare insight into the shaping of one of the significant musicians of recent decades. Tickets on sale shortly.
To round out the film series is a special event, Reel Jazz 3: The Divas, the Drummers, and the Latin Lovers hosted by film scholar Michael van den Bos. The evening includes a performance by Laura Crema singing classic movie songs.
All screening are at the Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street. For schedule and ticketing info: Jazz on Film
Interested in revisiting some classic jazz films? Check out Taste of Cinema’s 10 Best Movies about Jazz list.