Imagine the Sound | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The first feature of Canadian filmmaker Ron Mann (Poetry in Motion, Comic Book Confidential) may be the best documentary on free jazz that we have. Produced with Bill Smith, editor of Coda magazine, the film consists mainly of interviews with and performances by four key musicians: solo pianists Cecil Taylor and Paul Bley, trumpet player Bill Dixon (performing with a trio), and tenor saxophone player Archie Shepp (playing with a quartet); Taylor and Shepp also read some of their poetry. Mann is attentive to the visual impact of the music (Taylor's piano playing, for instance, virtually qualifies as a form of dancing) and its diverse biographical, musical, and ideological underpinnings (the musicians are all highly articulate). Essential viewing and listening for free-jazz devotees (1981). (Southend Musicworks, 1313 S. Wabash, Sunday, April 8, 7:00, 939-2848)

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