This is a must for film buffs and jazz buffs alike.
Shirley Clarke was an important independent filmmaker in the USA. She directed numerous short and feature length films between the 1950s and the 1980s. Most fell into the field of documentary. She also won a number of awards, of which the 1989 Maya Deren Independent Film and Video Artists Award is possibly the most apt.
The Connection is an example from what we would call ‘the beat generation’. It is a fine adaptation of a play by Jack Gelber. It also includes music by a number of jazz luminaries including saxophone player Jackie McLean. The film runs for 110 minutes and is in black and white academy ratio.
Ornette: Made in America (1985) is in the modern widescreen and in colour. The subject is one of the truly great players of the modern jazz era: Ornette Coleman. I still treasure vinyl recordings of this master at work. Clarke’s highly praised film gives us not just the music but also the context of this outstanding artist.
Sadly the director, the playwright and the jazz men are no longer with us. So this is a welcome posthumous tribute to key contributors to the culture and art of North America.