From the ashes of the late Denver Jazz on Film Festival rises the Denver Jazz on Film Series, a slightly shorter -- but no less syncopated -- bow to a great American art form as interpreted by moviemakers around the world. The series, which features twelve films ranging from a vivid 52-minute documentary about saxophonist Dexter Gordon to the nearly three-hour Bird, Clint Eastwood's well-meaning but muddled biopic about bebop giant Charlie Parker, runs from Friday, February 14, through Sunday, February 16, at the Starz FilmCenter at the Tivoli.
Half of the programming has been screened at previous DJOF fests, which says volumes about the scarcity of first-rate jazz films. But classics like The Sound of Jazz, a pioneering work originally produced for CBS TV in 1957, and Bertrand Tavernier's Round Midnight, the fictionalized portrait of an expatriate saxophonist living in Paris in the 1950s, always invite another look.
Among the new-to-Denver films, look for Stephane Grappelli: A Life in the Jazz Century, which chronicles the French violinist's nearly eighty-year career, and Chico Hamilton: Dancing to a Different Drimmer, about the inventive West Coast percussionist and bandleader whose work over the decades remains too little appreciated. Straight, No Chaser, Christian Blackwood and Charlotte Zwerin's fly-on-the-wall look at eccentric pianist Thelonious Monk, is a model for all documentarians dealing with elusive subjects.
Post-movie, drop by Dazzle, at 10th and Lincoln, for series-sponsored live jazz featuring the Max Wagner Quartet (Friday night), DKO (Saturday) and Purnell Steen and Le Jazz Machine (Sunday).
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For a full schedule and ticket information, call 1-866-464-2626 or visit www.jazzfilmfestival.org.