Fernando Trueba presents his love affair with Latin jazz, his camera following 13 giants into the studio. Trueba drapes walls with single colors - red for Jerry González and the Fort Apache band, white for Tito Puente; his camera is close to faces, instruments, hands, and feet; bands' colors contrast with walls or their leader's clothes. Chucho Valdés does a pyrotechnic solo then joins his aged father Bebo for a subdued duet. Puntilla Ríos takes us to Africa, Chano Domínguez to a marriage of jazz and Flamenco, and Eliane Elias, her shoe-less foot on the pedal, to gorgeous and muscular elegance. With Paquito, Cachao, Patato, Chico, Gato, and Michel Camilo, we travel Calle 54. Written by
Jerry González is shown in concert repeating the names of the featured performers of the film while the screen splits into multiple part with each featuring footage and the name of each performer as the names are called out. In addition there are smaller boxes with the other bandmembers and their names seen in this film. See more »
I can't understand why Miramax isn't promoting this movie to the hilt. It's a wonderful concert film posing as a documentary about the history of latin jazz in the US. The director Fernando Trueba has an obvious jones for latin jazz and has chosen to focus on some of the genre's most influential performers and founders, keeping the narrative to a minimum and letting the music speak for itself. And that's where the movie really shines: over and over each artist gives a wonderful performance with lighting and simple set design to make them look their best. The film will probably draw inevitable comparisons to "Buena Vista Social Club", another film presenting latin artists making history through their music. However BVSC focused as much on Ry Cooder's involvement and the musicians' lives in Cuba as the music played. Here Trueba keeps the education brief, and when the performers play, you know why latin jazz changed his life. A terrific date film for anyone who loves music and the chance to see such giants as Tito Puente, Gato Barbieri, Paquito D'Rivera and historic moments shared by Bebo Valdes and his son Chucho as well as his lifelong friend Cachao.
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