The People's Choice (An Audience Generated Film Series): The Cry of Jazz

Thursday, January 7th 7:30PM

Dir. Edward Bland, 1959, 34 min

Esteemed film critic Armond White will present one of his favorite documentary films, The Cry of Jazz, to launch Maysles Cinema’s monthly series, "The People’s Choice". The Cry of Jazz is filmmaker, composer and arranger Edward O. Bland's essay on the politics of music and race. Not only is this one of the earliest documentaries made by an African American, it is arguably the first time an African American director openly challenges assumptions of white supremacy on film. Bland makes an early argument that Jazz is an inherently Black art form, rooted in Black experience, being diluted by White imitators to its own peril. Bland makes the case by grounding Sun Ra’s soundtrack in poignant images of Black urban experience and cultural life compared with the “cool” sound and posture of White jazz performers. This argument has fueled debate and cultural production from the Black Arts movement through the current “post-racial” period.

Followed by discussion with film critic, Armond White. 

Mr. White is an iconoclast with un-predictable takes on popular culture. Most recently he has raised a stir with his review of Lee Daniels’ film, Precious, as a modern day Birth of a Nation. In spite of, or perhaps on account of his unorthodox views, Armond White is highly respected in the film world and serves as head of the New York Film Critic’s Circle.

Esteemed critic Armond White will be presenting one of his favorite documentaries, "The Cry of Jazz" this Thursday. He recently raised a stir with this incendiary review of Lee Daniels' film, 'Precious', in which he claimed: "Not since The Birth of a Nation has a mainstream movie demeaned the idea of black American life as much as Precious"