Robert Mugge filmed jazz great Sun Ra on location in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. between 1978 and 1980. The resulting 60-minute film includes multiple public and private ... See full summary »
A grinning monkey sitting in a tree dangles a lit firecracker from a fishing pole just over the head of an unwary turtle. Realizing that an explosion is pending, the turtle ducks and takes ... See full summary »
Leo M. Langlois III,
Ray J. Mauer,
Silly politics but great footage and a fascinating style
"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)
8 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?