Not Your Mama’s Musicals

For a decade now, “serious jazz” public radio station 88.9 WDNA-FM has gifted the city with the Miami Jazz Film Festival, an increasingly impressive celluloid celebration of America’s greatest musical contribution and the characters who perform it. To celebrate this memorable milestone, this year’s fest will present a packed schedule of U.S. and Florida film premieres featuring performances from musicians old and new.

“They’re all great films by artists who we hardly ever see upon the screen,” says general manager Maggie Pellaya. Tickets are going fast for key films such as Keith Jarrett: The Art of Improvisation and Make It Funky! It All Started in New Orleans, a celebratory documentary filmed just before Hurricane Katrina struck. Experts and aficionados are flying in from all over the world to discuss their masterpieces. Award-winning filmmaker Fernando Trueba will come from Spain to introduce El Milagro de Candeal, and director Ken Konig is traveling from California to present Jazz on the West Coast: The Lighthouse.

Music producer and Calle 54 Records co-owner Nat Chediak will be on hand to introduce Habana Abierta – Boomerang, a documentary that follows the recording of this funky, outspoken band of Cuban musicians. “Theirs is the voice of a generation that I hadn’t heard before; they grew up within the revolution. They make music that is very outspoken. They aren’t by any means a protest band, but they speak their mind and it’s very refreshing,” says Chediak. The fest begins this evening at 7:00 with the Florida premiere of Music Is My Life, Politics My Mistress: The Story of Oscar Brown Jr., an intimate documentary about the recently departed musician/politician/activist. “He was always outspoken and controversial. He ran for representative in the Democratic, Republican, and Independent parties,” laughs Pellaya. The screening will be followed by a reception with live music at Tarpon Bend (65 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables). All screenings will take place at the Bill Cosford Cinema on the University of Miami’s lush campus.
Thu., Aug. 10, 7 p.m.


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