Archives for posts with tag: Hustler’s Convention

DOC-NYC-600x400
You might think a film festival is an unusual place for jazz fans – and you might be right – unless the festival in question is DOC NYC. The annual celebration of documentary film usually has several music selections and this year’s no exception. We’re going to pull out a few that jazz fans might want to keep an eye out for, including some unexpected picks. Even if you miss them here, the festival circuit offers a trial run for films and often result in wider release for ones that garner positive reactions.
 
Baddddd Sonia Sanchez
 
Sanchez is a major figure in African American poetry and one of the key people in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s-79s. As with many artists in the movement, Sanchez drew lots of inspiration for her sound from the rhythms of jazz — particularly free jazz – that was the soundtrack of the time. See, for instance “a/coltrane/poem” that approximates the latter’s style with her phrasing and vocal inflections or “pharaoh sanders blowin’”, a homage to ‘Trane’s late career collaborator whose bloomed into a saxophone legend in his own right.

We interviewed Sanchez and devoted a full show to her in 2009 and talked to the directors in 2013, so needless to say we’re excited to see the finished product. You can, too, and if you show up on November 19th, you’ll get to see a talkback with co-directors Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, Barbara Attie, and Janet Goldwater. Sanchez herself is scheduled to attend, as is poet Byronn Bain. The film has already been picked up for distribution by California Newsreel.


 
Hustler’s Convention
 
This is another film centered around a poet who gained fame in the Black Arts Movement — Jalal Nurddin — though Nuruddin’s work is much different from Sanchez’s. Nuriddin was fascinated with the street vernacular and prison toasts he heard while growing up and fused that with the political sensibility of the 1960s as a member of The Last Poets.

The film frames Nuruddin’s work in the context of the period and explores how he came to poetry and some of the struggles he’s faced along the way. The film centers around a 1974 release he did for Douglas Records under the pseudonym of Lightnin’ Rod that collects a few of the aforementioned prison toasts. While its only DOC NYC screening has passed, it’s worth keeping an eye on for a follow-up theatrical run after the festival ends.


 
The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith
 
At the first screening, director Sara Fishko – who also presented much of the material that forms the basis of the film as a 10-part series for public radio station WNYC – said that she didn’t initially think of doing a documentary film while poring through the vast collection of still photographs and audio Smith left. But it works spectacularly well as a film, nonetheless.

Smith lived in a ramshackle loft at 821 Sixth Ave in the 1950s-60s in what was then in the middle of a district where wholesalers of flowers were concentrated. At that point, the area was rundown and solidly commercial, which made it the perfect spot for musicians to congregate. Smith, a professional photographer with credits in the legendary Life magazine and elsewhere, moved in to focus on his work. Musicians started showing up at the loft for late night jam sessions that would sometimes last for days on end and Smith captured lots of it on audio tape. Monk is the most prominent of the people at the loft and happened to do most of the rehearsals for his Town Hall concert there and this audio is the film’s centerpiece.

We’re working on a full review of the film, but until then here’s a video made for an exhibit of the materials made by the New York Public Library that will give you a feel for it and, of course, you can dive in and listen to the original radio series on WNYC.


 
What Happened, Miss Simone?
 
We talked to director Liz Garbus and others in July about What Happened, Miss Simone? when it debuted on Netflix (where it’s still available to stream) and had a short New York theatrical run. If you didn’t catch it then (or just want to see it on the big screen), then you have two more shots at it. Garbus is expected to attend the screening on November 17 for a talkback.

What Happened, Miss Simone? takes a biographical trip through the singer’s life and does so courtesy of Simone’s daughter Lisa Simone (who is interviewed extensively) and with full cooperation of the Simone estate, so there’s plenty of rare film footage and a lot of Simone’s songs are featured here.


 
Head on over to the DOC NYC website for remaining showtimes and a full list of films.
 
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Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York.

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bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.
 
WBAI_F15_Drive
 
WBAI’s fall fund drive is coming to an end, which means you have one more chance to pledge for the DVD of our “Who Owns Music” panel discussion from earlier this year. Even a relatively small pledge of $5 helps a lot and sends the message to station management that people want to hear jazz and will support it. Now let’s see what else is going on musically this week.
 
Pianist Vijay Iyer is at the Met Museum of Art on the 12th with Holding it Down: the Veteran’s Dreams Project.
 
Bassist Christian McBride is at NJPAC in Newark NJ on November 12 and returns to play with vocalist Dianne Reeves on the 14. Both events are part of the James Moody Jazz Festival.
 
The Doc NYC Festival from the 12-17th has several films of interest to jazz fans – and a few definitely to keep an eye on for Suga’ fans. The Sonia Sanchez documentary Baddd Sonia Sanchez, will get screenings, as will The Jazz Loft According to W Eugene Smith, culled from the extensive and eclectic ephemera of the photographer’s years in a Sixth Ave loft building frequented by several jazz luminaries, and Hustler’s Convention featuring members of The Last Poets.
 
Saxophonist René McLean is at Sista’s Place in Brooklyn on the 14th.
 
Trumpeter Hugh Masekela is at Monmouth University in West Long Branch NJ with Larry Willis on November 14 and the Landmark in Port Washington Long Island on the 15th. See our review of Masekela and Willis at Jazz Standard for a preview of what you’ll see.
 
The Wilbur Ware Institute’s annual festival/fundraiser is at the new Cassandra’s Jazz club in Harlem this year and features pianist Harold Mabern and pianist/vocalist Andy Bey on November 14 and presents a lifetime achievement award to bassist Bob Cranshaw on the 15.
 
Vibraphonist Roy Ayers is at the Blue Note from November 17-22.
 
If you missed the weeklong run of Jeff Lieberman’s The Amazing Nina Simone documentary in NYC, you’ve got another shot on the 18th, when it screens at Huntington LI’s Cinema Arts Centre. Those of you (far) north of the city can catch it in Rhinebeck NY on the 20th and Woodstock on the 21st at Upstate Films.
 
Drummer/percussionist Bobby Sanabria leads the Multiverse Big Band at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club from November 19-22.
 
That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is back on WBAI‘s airwaves on November 15. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.
 
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Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York.

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.
 
WBAI_F15_Drive
 
Our last show was a special fund drive edition. We played excerpts of the “Who Owns Music” panel discussion Suga’ sponsored earlier this year. A pledge for the DVD will get you the full discussion and all proceeds go to WBAI and help us stay on the air. Even a relatively small pledge of $5 helps a lot and sends the message to station management that people want to hear jazz and will support it. This week’s guest is trombonist Craig Harris. You can catch him at Harlem’s Rendall Memorial Presbyterian Church on November 3 for two lunchtime sets. Now let’s see what else is going on musically this week.
 
Vocalist Catherine Russell is Columbia University’s Center for Jazz Studies on November 4th with a Billie Holiday tribute. The event’s free with RSVP.
 
Guitarist Marc Ribot is at the Village Vanguard from November 3-7 with Electric Masada, John Zorn and others and organist John Medeski takes the stage on the 8th with Simulacrum.
 
Pianist and NEA Jazz Master Barry Harris and bassist Bob Cranshaw play the music of Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley at Flushing Town Hall on November 6.
 
Saxophonist Oliver Lake leads his Organ Quartet in a free concert at Bethany Baptist Church in Newark NJ on November 7 as part of the James Moody Jazz Festival.
 
Pianist Vijay Iyer is at the Jazz Gallery on the 6 and 7 and presents the Veteran’s Dreams Project at the Met Museum of Art on the 12.
 
The Doc NYC Festival from the 12-17 has several films of interest to jazz fans – and a few definitely to keep an eye on for Suga’ fans. The Sonia Sanchez documentary Baddd Sonia Sanchez, will get screenings, as will The Jazz Loft According to W Eugene Smith, culled from the extensive and eclectic ephemera of the photographer’s years in a Sixth Ave loft building frequented by several jazz luminaries, and Hustler’s Convention featuring members of The Last Poets.
 
The Wilbur Ware Institute’s annual festival/fundraiser is at the new Cassandra’s Jazz club in Harlem this year and features pianist Harold Mabern and pianist/vocalist Andy Bey on November 14 and presents a lifetime achievement award to bassist Bob Cranshaw on the 15.
 
Bassist Christian McBride is at NJPAC in Newark NJ on November 12 and returns to play with vocalist Dianne Reeves on the 14. Both events are part of the James Moody Jazz Festival.
 
That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is back on WBAI‘s airwaves on November 15. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.
 
—-
Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York.

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