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Jackie McLean on Mars (1980)

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(as Ken Levis)
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Title: Jackie McLean on Mars (1980)

Jackie McLean on Mars (1980) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Credited cast:
Jackie McLean ...
Woody Shaw ...


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October 1980 (USA)  »

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Fascinating but short
4 February 2004 | by See all my reviews

Jackie McLean is a true jazz master and one of the few true authorities of the bebop era still in business, but at the time of this film his main gig was teaching at Hartford. Hartford seems to have had a low-profile and low-budget jazz department, and the same goes for this film, which clocks in at just over half an hour, and barely scratches the surface of the subject matter. Still, what is here is engaging and a surprisingly candid portrait. McLean is shown practicing in his apartment and - briefly - playing with his quintet, but most of the running time is spent at Hartford in the classroom - and what classes they must have been. McLean's stream-of-consciousness lectures run from Sun Ra to JFK's assassination to how he learned Giant Steps, and the students try their best to keep up. A fascinating glimpse into the mind of a jazz musician.

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