Musical Generations | Chicago Reader

Musical Generations

These four shorts focus on the role music plays in familial relationships—or doesn't, as is the case for a fourth-generation piano restorer who says he failed to teach his kids his craft. Mayeta Clark interviews him for The Final Note, about one of the few artisanal piano facilities left in the U.S. Dan Koentopp, the Chicagoan featured in Caleb Vinson and Paul Hamilton's Koentopp, excels at crafting guitars, but this 45-minute documentary could use a little more work. The two best shorts both involve men struggling with their fathers' pasts: in Grand Canal, Johnny Ma incorporates a Chinese ballad his father loved into a fictionalized account of the man's problems as captain of a shipping fleet, and in Battle of the Jazz Guitarist, Mark Columbus employs captions to describe his sometimes tense relationship with his dad, who was the most popular guitarist in Fiji before he moved to America and started a family. In English and subtitled Mandarin.

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