The Cry of Jazz | Chicago Reader

The Cry of Jazz

Ed Bland's fascinating and quirky 35-minute essay, made in Chicago in 1959, argues that the long-suffering blacks who produced jazz offer essential expressions of the African-American spirit. In one bitter and hilarious moment, “white jazz”—sounding a lot like elevator music—accompanies images of a suburban train station and someone grooming a dog, contrasting the film's taut urban imagery with suburban blandness. A rough-edged but provocative melange, this improbably mixes great footage of Sun Ra, sections that have the feel of cheesy 50s instructional films, and staged scenes in which black and white actors woodenly portray members of a “jazz club” who meet in someone's apartment.


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