JAZZ NIGHTS: A CONFIDENTIAL JOURNEY is a documentary that chronicles a fleeting and almost completely unknown moment in time involving a group of L.A.’s top jazz musicians who congregated in alternating configurations every Sunday night for two years to explore not only jazz music, but friendship, community, and creative risk-taking. Once a week, these expert musicians formed a circle, a coterie of non-verbal, intuitive communication. There were no pre-determined set lists, no rehearsals. Attendance was through word-of-mouth only. No advertising. In many ways, these musical nights poignantly echoed the Prohibition Era speakeasies of the 1920s as well as the ’50s underground jazz clubs of Harlem and Greenwich Village in both mood and in the incredible exploratory and clandestine nature of the whole experience. In addition to the music and setting, these cutting-edge musicians explore, via in-depth interviews, their lives, influences, backstories, upbringings, inspirations, and cultural affiliations. The result is an evocative tapestry of live music, thoughts and memories, and a snapshot of a moment in time amidst an ever-evolving American landscape.
An up-coming authorized documentary entitled “Don’t Blink” about photographer Robert Frank (“The Americans”) will include three Mingus compositions: “Nostalgia in Times Square,” “Haitian Fight Song,” and “Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am.”
From the early ’90s on, Frank has been making his films and videos with the brilliant editor Laura Israel, who has helped him to keep things homemade and preserve the illuminating spark of first contact between camera and people/places. Don’t Blink is Israel’s like-minded portrait of her friend and collaborator, a lively rummage sale of images and sounds and recollected passages and unfathomable losses and friendships that leaves us a fast and fleeting imprint of the life of the Swiss-born man who reinvented himself the American way, and is still standing on ground of his own making at the age of 90.
Sue Ungaro Mingus performed in a Robert Frank’s feature film “O.K. End Here,” shown at the first New York FIlm Festival.
Two Mingus compositions — “Dry Cleaner of Des Moines” and “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”– can be heard in an upcoming production JACO: A Documentary Film.
JACO tells the story of Jaco Pastorius, a self-taught, larger-than-life musician who changed the course of modern music. Never-before-seen archive footage unveils the story of Jaco’s life, his music, his demise, and the lasting victory of artistic genius. Featuring Joni Mitchell, Sting, Flea, Herbie Hancock, Geddy Lee, Bootsy Collins, Santana, Wayner Shorter and more. JACO will leave you longing for a time when “musicians owned the music industry.” Produced by Metallica’s Robert Trujillo with Passion Pictures (Searching For Sugar Man) and directed by Paul Marchand and Stephen Kijack.
We are pleased to announce that Mingus’s composition “Haitian Fight Song” is in the new film Top Five! Starring, written & directed by comedian Chris Rock, the film opened this week to rave reviews!
Pulsing with the rhythm of his greatest stand-up, Chris Rock’s TOP FIVE takes things to the next level, reveling in the high and the low, and blending a star-studded comedic romp with an irresistible romance.TOP FIVE digs under the surface of show business, politics, rap, and the exigencies of being black and famous today—holding it all up to the light in the way only Chris Rock can. Mingling echoes of Woody Allen and Dick Gregory with the energy of Kanye West and Jay Z, TOP FIVE is an original and radically new kind of American movie.Written, directed, and starring Chris Rock, TOP FIVE tells the story of New York City comedian-turned-film star Andre Allen, whose unexpected encounter with a journalist (Rosario Dawson) forces him to confront the comedy career—and the past—that he’s left behind. Starring Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Cedric The Entertainer, JB Smoove, Tracy Morgan, Kevin Hart, Anders Holm, Jay Pharaoh, Michael Che, Sherri Shepherd, Leslie Jones. The film is produced by Scott Rudin and Eli Bush. The Co-Producers are Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and Kanye West; the Executive Music Producer is Questlove.
Tune in tomorrow evening to the USA Network! On November 13th, 2014, the television spy drama Covert Affairs will feature the Mingus composition “Ecclusiastics” during a fight scene with character Auggie Anderson. Auggie is an employee of the CIA’s Domestic Protection Division and when on mission uses the codename “Mingus.”