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Venue:
International House Philadelphia3701 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: Free Admission
Sponsored by:
Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 2:00pm

New Paths Festival: On Film

New Paths Festival

In preparation for the New Paths Festival, Ars Nova Workshop is proud to present a day of documentary films at the International House.

These three films turn the lens on musicians, but keep the camera rolling after the performance ends. The result is three visually arresting views into the creation process of jazz and improvised music, exposing both the quotidian struggles of life as a working musician and the rich anecdotal histories of these musicians. These films are artistic endeavors in themselves, but also exist as historical documents of the development of the avant-garde over the last forty years. 

8pm | Rising Tones Cross
5pm | Musician
2pm | Soldier of the Road: A Portrait of Peter Brötzmann

New Paths Festival has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Rising Tones Cross
dir. Ebba Jahn, 1984, DVD, English, color, 111 min.

Ebba Jahn's 1984 study of the New York City avant-garde jazz scene combines interviews, performances, and stunning visuals of a city that has made a name for itself as a nexus of creativity for decades.  Predominately featuring Charles Gayle and Peter Kowald as they play improvised music in essentially improvised spaces throughout the city and at the Sound Unity Festival, the predecessor of the Vision Festival, Jahn's direction juxtaposes the vibrant, frenetic development of avant-garde jazz with the gritty, pre-Giuliani face of New York City.  Thirty years later, the film's romantic approach makes it “a nostalgia piece for some, a valuable historical document for others” (All About Jazz). Interviews and performances also include William and Patricia Parker, John Zorn, Billy Bang, Don Cherry, John Zorn, Peter Brötzmann, Irene Schweizer, Rüdiger Carl, Charles Tyler, and others.  

Musician
dir. Daniel Kraus, 2004, DVD, English, color, 76 min.

"A masterpiece...Among the most significant efforts of the year - or any year this decade, for that matter” (Movieline). Part of Daniel Kraus' critically-acclaimed Work series, Musician takes a cinéma vérité approach to Chicago saxophonist and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Ken Vandermark's story. Among avant-garde musicians and fans, Vandermark's work ethic is the stuff of legend; he spends more time on the road than he does at home and has released over 100 albums with nearly 40 ensembles. True to the series, Musician captures the dichotomy of Vandermark's artistic practice: “Vandermark loves what he does, but because resources for the improvising musician are so limited, he can never rest” (Chicago Reader).  Forgoing interviews and voice-overs, Kraus captures what it means, at least for Vandermark, to be a working musician, allowing the audience to see the entire process, from quotidian struggles to triumphant performances. 

Soldier of the Road: A Portrait of Peter Brötzmann
dir. Bernard Josse, 2012, DVD, English, French, and German, with English subtitles, color, 93 min.

Bernard Josse's portrait of German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, shot with no financial backing, is the product of Josse's own enthusiasm for Brötzmann's work, both in his improvised musicianship and in his visual art practice. Josse enlists veteran jazz photographer Gérard Rouy to conduct and translate interviews, and the duo tap into Rouy's acquaintances and friendships with musicians and artists across Europe and the US.  The film is marked by a particularly intentional approach to the visual product,  drawing upon Josse's direction and Rouy and Brötzmann's own respective aesthetics : “What gives Soldier of the Road its special quality is the sheer visual acuity of so many of the participants” (Point of Departure). The interviews capture an often-serene Brötzmann, a stark contrast to the intense musical  performances that punctuate the film. Appearances by and interviews with Brötzmann's friends and collaborators include Fred Van Hove, Han Bennink, Evan Parker, Ken Vandermark, Mats Gustaffson, Joe McPhee, Connie Bauer, Jeb Bishop, and others.