Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Continuum: Why the Jazz Establishment Can't Hold Down Matthew Shipp



Few music documentaries manage to capture the spirit of their subjects; this 49-minute video about avant-garde pianist Matthew Shipp, whose influences range from jazz to classical but who's been written up in a heavy-metal magazine, is a rare exception. Though director Patrick A. Gaucher supplies the usual mix of performance footage and comments from players, critics, and record producers, he uses a variety of techniques, from jump cuts to superimpositions to oblique angles on interviewees, to decenter and energize his subjects. An intensely active handheld camera combines with music and closely overlapping dialogue to create a dense, near anarchic weave of sound and image that echoes Shipp's combination of intense focus and centrifugal eruptions. On the same program but unavailable for preview: Michael Lucio Sternbach's Down to the Crux (2000, 45 min.), described as a documentary on the development of free jazz, with Archie Shepp and Bill Dixon. Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, Sunday and Wednesday, November 18 and 21, 6:00, 312-846-2800.

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