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The Cry of Jazz (1959)

| Documentary, Short, Music
Discussion of jazz and the role of African-Americans in the United States.

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Cast

Credited cast:
George Waller ...
Alex Johnson
Dorothea Horton ...
Natalie
Linda Dillon ...
Faye
Andrew Duncan ...
John
Leroy Inman ...
Louis
James Miller ...
Bob
Gavin McFadyan ...
Bruce
Carl Dupree
Goldina Rojas
Alan Leavitt
Carl McCormack
Lettie Mae Randolph
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sun Ra ...
Himself
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Discussion of jazz and the role of African-Americans in the United States.

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Silly politics but great footage and a fascinating style
23 January 2007 | by (Worcester, MA) – See all my reviews

"Cry of Jazz" has silly politics but great footage and a fascinating style. This experimental short is one of the first examples of radical black film-making that would become popular later on with Charles Burnett and later Spike Lee. The short claims that jazz music can only be ably made by Blacks because of their suffering and any jazz from Whites is a pale imitation. While the Blacks did invent Jazz, its a form of musical composition that can just as ably be done by White people.

That being said, I was never one to let a films politics or social message interfere with my appreciation of its style. This is one well-made short that is fascinating throughout. The style is very minimalist and avant-garde but accessible all the same. The editing is fine and the sequencing is great. Plus, it has rare footage of the great Sun Ra. This is before he became really out there but fans such as myself will still find it delightful. "Cry of Jazz" is a must-see for fans of Jazz or experimental cinema. (8/10)


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