Jazz influences the arts: Movies that are jazz centered
By: Natasha Archary
I remember the first time I watched Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. All of thirteen, I fell in love with choreography and dance. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t exactly push me in the direction of following through and committing to a dance class, but I have a deep love for synergy and different genres of dance as a result.
That said, Swayze and Grey, both with a previous history of dance, captivated the hearts of many. There have been many interpretations of the famous aerial dance scene over the years, some a beautiful re-enactment, others not so much. Either way, one will have a tough time denouncing that the movie, amongst many others, impacted the Jazz world to a degree.
The most recent Jazz-centred movie with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, La La Land, though Oscar-nominated and awarded in various prestigious awards ceremonies, was received with mixed reviews amongst Jazz enthusiasts.
According to many, the chemistry between the lead stars, though visible, was not enough to detract from terrible choreography and jazzy tempos. It was seriously lacking.
The movie, however, was a stunning and nostalgic cinematographic nod to old school Hollywood classics. Robust, eye-catching cinematography and a haunting musical score was enough to identify with anyone who has a creative dream.
It goes down in history as one of the movie that Jazz inspired, regardless of what the critics say about the story.
Jazz movies over the years
If you’re looking for other titles to add to your Jazz movie collection, take the time to watch the 1988 classic with Forest Whitaker as Charlie Parker. “Bird”follows the story of a talented yet infamously troubled saxophonist, Charlie Parker. The movie was produced and directed by Clint Eastwood.
“Jazz on a Summer’s Day”, is another classic. Filmed in 1958 at the Newport Jazz Festival’s performances that year, the talent includes Thelonious Monk, Louis Armstrong and Dinah Washington.
“Kansas City” is a 1996 release and one of the lesser acclaimed movies that is Jazz-themed. With a solid cast and soundtrack however, the movie is a good watch.
Be sure to watch
Other Jazz-inspired movies that should be on every Jazzuary lover’s Movies on Demand queue include:
Cabin In The Sky (1943)
The Connection (1961)
A great Day in Harlem (1995)
Keep On Keepin’ On (2014)
Lady Sings The Blues (1972)
Mo’ Better Blues (1990)
‘Round Midnight (1986)
Sweet And Lowdown (1999)
Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988)
Which are your favourite jazz inspired movies? Share the titles with us by tweeting @KayaFM95dot9 using the hashtag #Jazzuary2019