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Play Your Own Thing: A Story of Jazz in Europe (2006)

Unrated | | Documentary | 2 November 2006 (Germany)
The music documentary Play Your Own Thing provides a comprehensive history of European jazz. It explores the origins of the US-influenced jazz clubs after the Second World War, the first ... See full summary »


Julian Benedikt


Julian Benedikt


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Arild Andersen Arild Andersen ... Self
Georg Baselitz Georg Baselitz ... Self
Django Bates Django Bates ... Self
Stefano Bollani Stefano Bollani ... Self
Till Brönner ... Self
Dee Dee Bridgewater ... Self
Richard Cook Richard Cook ... Self
Wolfgang Dauner Wolfgang Dauner ... Self
Karlheinz Drechsel Karlheinz Drechsel ... Self (as Karl-Heinz Drechsel)
Manfred Eicher Manfred Eicher ... Self
Jon Falt Jon Falt ... Self
Jan Garbarek Jan Garbarek ... Self
Michel Godard Michel Godard ... Self
Dexter Gordon ... Self (archive footage)
Dusko Gojkovic Dusko Gojkovic ... Self


The music documentary Play Your Own Thing provides a comprehensive history of European jazz. It explores the origins of the US-influenced jazz clubs after the Second World War, the first steps independent of American jazz and the various changes of direction that have repeatedly occurred in the search for that "own voice" that European jazz musicians have helped to form. Featuring the mastery of Chris Barber, Jan Garbarek, Juliette Greco, Stefano Bollani and Till Bronner, to name but a few, the film provides a wealth of styles in jazz. For his third documentary on jazz, filmmaker Julian Benedikt travelled to a wide variety of European countries in search of an all-embracing documentation of European jazz music. His storytelling is not overly sophisticated, nor does he simply reproduce the known clichés; rather the movie engages its audience with very personal impressions of European jazz, past and present.

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User Reviews

the philosophy of jazz
19 July 2008 | by dromascaSee all my reviews

This history of the penetration and adoption of jazz in Europe catches a key moment in the development of this form of art. Little known in Europe before the second world war excepting the avantgarde circles in Berlin and Paris, jazz was brought in Europe as a form of popular musical entertainment by the bands who were playing for the American soldiers. It caught up Europe in a moment of change of direction, with winds of freedom blowing over most of the continent in the vacuum left by years of war. And then an amazing thing happened. Jazz was not only received in Europe and adopted by the European musicians and public but was also adapted and localized in each country. This was following the philosophy of freedom and improvisation that stands at the origins of jazz. The adoption of jazz in Europe represents the moment where jazz becomes from an almost exclusive American form of entertainment a universal art.

I liked the film and I believe that the fundamental ideas of the process were well explained, although I wished there was more music and also a minimal introduction of the different musicians, singers and composers who appeared on screen. It was refreshing to see that Eastern Germany featured in the film, and I regretted to see that the film stopped at the former DDR border, as much more can be said about the impact of jazz in the East European culture during the Communist rule. Maybe this will be the subject of a future film, as interesting as this one, I hope.

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German | French | Italian | English

Release Date:

2 November 2006 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Játszd újra! - Európai jazz See more »

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