Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Films About Music: A Jazz Focus

Let's Get Lost is an impressionistic, pensive documentary made by Bruce Weber in the waning years of Chet Baker's extraordinary life.  Watching some of the last recording sessions involving Chet is a highlight: he possessed an inimitably warm voice and his brilliantly understated trumpet playing remained phenomenal until his untimely death. For the uninitiated, start with his records and then head to the film.

Bird is a biopic starring a young Forest Whitaker as bebop king Charlie Parker.  A Clint Eastwood passion project, the film follows Parker's rise from the Kansas City jazz scene in his teens. The musical performances in the film (which include a who's-who of 20th century legends) are rousing and the acting is commendable throughout.  As Parker was a junkie throughout his all-too-brief adult life, expect some lugubrious moments. 

Both are from the late Eighties and slightly difficult to obtain, but worth the extra effort.

"You don't know how hearts burn,
for love that cannot live but never dies,
until you've faced the dawn with sleepless eyes."
-Chet Baker


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