Calle 54 | Chicago Reader

Calle 54

A celebratory primer (2000) by Spanish director Fernando Trueba (Belle Epoque) on Latin jazz, a genre that can range from a Dizzy Gillespie big-band arrangement to a Charlie Haden ballad. Trueba's commentaries are brief and to the point, and are never delivered over the music. The film amply demonstrates how playing certain percussive instruments--conga drums, vibes, even piano--is much like dancing (though Trueba also provides actual dancing to go with Chano Dominguez's jazz-flamenco fusions near the beginning and some Afro-Cuban drumming near the end). Apart from the percussiveness, the music is extremely varied, running the gamut from Eliane Elias's lyrical piano to Gato Barbieri's gruff but tender tenor sax to Chico O'Farrill's wonderful big-band scoring; among other featured players are Paquito d'Rivera, Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band, Tito Puente, Chucho Valdes, and a couple of the latter's relatives. In English and subtitled French and Spanish.


Cast information not available at this time.

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