All About Jazz

Home » Articles » DVD/Film Reviews

390

Barry Harris and Mal Waldron: Passing It On / A Portrait

By

Sign in to view read count
Barry Harris / Mal Waldron
Barry Harris: Passing It On / A Portrait of Mal Waldron
Rhapsody Films

This DVD release collects two films about two significant jazz pianists—Barry Harris and Mal Waldron. The first film is a short (23 minutes) but wonderfully personable glimpse into the life of pianist/educator Harris, who describes himself at the film's beginning as an "inveterate be-bopper," a man dedicated to that part of the jazz language he calls "the beginning and end of music." What clearly comes across is how committed Harris is to increasing through teaching the size of the music's younger audience. One of the settings is the Jazz Cultural Theater, an independent school Harris founded to promote jazz. One longs for more of Harris' playing, but as the film ends there is little doubt that we have just witnessed a substantial document of one of America's national treasures.

A Portrait of Mal Waldron was filmed a dozen years later and, as a project made in Europe, benefits from a bigger budget. Besides wonderful comments and candid rehearsal clips featuring Max Roach, Steve Lacy, Jeanne Lee and other close collaborators, there are snippets of rare archival footage. In one scene Waldron, who was Billie Holiday's final accompanist, is shown walking down a street in Belgium, and he says to the director, "I believe that if Billie Holiday stayed in Europe, she would be alive today." We then realize that he himself had moved to Europe in 1965, staying there until his death in 2002.

Both A Portrait of Mal Waldron and Passing It On represent the jazz life as a labor of love undertaken by these great musicians—both carrying on with the utmost positive energy, despite the comparative absence of fame, wealth and, at least Stateside, the respect that was their due.


Passing It On: A film by David Chan and Ken Freumdlich. Barry Harris: piano, with Red Rodney, Pepper Adams and Clifford Brown. Copyright: 1985. Rhapsody Films. Run time: 23 minutes.

A Portrait of Mal Waldron: A film by Tom Van overberghe. Mal Waldron: piano, with Max Roach, Steve Lacy, Jeanne Lee, Andrew Cyrille, and Reggie Workman. Screenplay: Bo Mandeville & Tom Van overberghe; Photography: Toon Illegems; Editor: Joris Heugebaert; Mixing: Guido Godon. Produced by Bo Mandeville & Willem Thijssen. Copyright: 1997. Minerva Pictures (Antwerp, Belgium). Run time: 52 minutes.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Eric Clapton: Life In 12 Bars DVD/Film Reviews
Eric Clapton: Life In 12 Bars
by Doug Collette
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Randy Brecker Quintet: Live at Sweet Basil 1988 DVD/Film Reviews
Randy Brecker Quintet: Live at Sweet Basil 1988
by John Kelman
Published: June 5, 2018
Read Jazz Ambassadors: Representing A Segregated America During The Cold War DVD/Film Reviews
Jazz Ambassadors: Representing A Segregated America During...
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: May 11, 2018
Read The Moody Blues: Days of Future Passed Live DVD/Film Reviews
The Moody Blues: Days of Future Passed Live
by John Kelman
Published: April 14, 2018
Read Chicago: The Terry Kath Experience DVD/Film Reviews
Chicago: The Terry Kath Experience
by Doug Collette
Published: March 10, 2018
Read The Doors: Live At The Isle of Wight Festival 1970 DVD/Film Reviews
The Doors: Live At The Isle of Wight Festival 1970
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "La La Land" DVD/Film Reviews La La Land
by Gareth Thomas
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Randy Brecker Quintet: Live at Sweet Basil 1988" DVD/Film Reviews Randy Brecker Quintet: Live at Sweet Basil 1988
by John Kelman
Published: June 5, 2018
Read "The Doors: Live At The Isle of Wight Festival 1970" DVD/Film Reviews The Doors: Live At The Isle of Wight Festival 1970
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary" DVD/Film Reviews Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: July 4, 2017
Read "Jeff Beck: Live at the Hollywood Bowl" DVD/Film Reviews Jeff Beck: Live at the Hollywood Bowl
by Doug Collette
Published: October 7, 2017
Read "Frank Sinatra: Portrait Of An Album | Sinatra Sings" DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: Portrait Of An Album | Sinatra Sings
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017