|Index||2 reviews in total|
Great high school jazz!, 17 June 2012
Author: bbakerphoto from United States
CHOPS was an incredibly enjoyable film. As a former HS teacher (not
music) it was a reminder of how enthusiastic and pleasurable working
the students can be. Focusing primarily on one Florida HS jazz band's
preparation for competing against other schools at Lincoln Center, it
allows you to get to know the primary musicians and their backgrounds.
There are brief segments featuring 2 bands from Seattle getting ready
for the same competition.
Especially satisfying was jazz legend Ron Carter's visit to the Florida school for a master class. It was hilarious to watch these likable, eager kids, probably assuming they were pretty cool musicians, quickly realize that Mr. Carter wrote the book on cool. The students were coaxed out of their typically teenage passivity and reserve by the teasing, demonstrative motivations of their visiting teacher. Along with the hard work and encouragement of their regular teacher, it almost made me want to be back in the classroom! The students' enjoyment of their New York experience and the performances during the actual competition were a great end to a great film.
Follows high school musicians preparing for the Essentially Ellington competition., 22 June 2011
Author: TxMike from Houston, Tx, USA, Earth
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is one of those films that Netflix "recommends" to you personally
after you have rated enough others. It also caught my attention for the
title, "Chops." I am a life-long trumpet player, when you are able to
play really well, "chops" is a reference to your playing ability. I saw
it as a streaming Netflix video.
Before I saw this film I knew nothing about the Essentially Ellington Festival and competition among high school bands playing selections of Ellington jazz. I should not have been surprised to find Wynton Marsalis involved. He and I are both trumpet players, and we both played with the New Orleans Concert Band for brief periods. This film was in my blood before I even watched the first scenes.
The film focuses mostly on one Florida group of teenagers, good musicians individually, undertaking the giant task of Ellington. They first had to work up a repertoire of three selections, then record the music to submit to the contest as a first hurdle.
Weeks later when they got the good news that they were selected as one of the 15 schools to attend the festival at Lincoln Center in New York, the real work began, to fine-tune their performances and to raise money for the trip. The challenge was great, as some of the schools competing already had a history of high places, including victories, in the contest.
The film becomes very personal, we don't just see the teenagers practicing and performing, we get to know them as individuals. This truly is a superb film for any music lover.
SPOILERS: As the groups get to New York, and perform, the Florida band gets chosen as one of the top three. The winner would be revealed after the concert the next day. The Florida group of kids were the eventual winners, the culmination of a seemingly impossible journey. According to main judge Marsalis, it came down to the quality of the individual instrumental soloists, the Florida group shone brighter than the others.
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