Saturday, September 27, 2008

DVD of the Day - "This Is Gary McFarland"

DVD of the Day
"This is Gary McFarland" (Century 67 Films) 2008
A great film written & directed by the talented Kristian St. Clair, this is one of the most brilliant, creative & provocative music documentaries ever made! Haunting but never mellow, moving but never dramatized; fearless but subtle in revealing the details of McFarland's premature (and till then) mysterious death - actually, he was "accidentally murdered". Smart & clever edition, mixing interviews, historic images, album covers and rare pics. Time flies and you wanna see it once again. In so doing, you'll note more details and you'll feel even more fascinated by both McFarland's personal & musical lives, as well as by St. Clair's lissome direction.
Subtitled "The Jazz Legend Who Should Have Been A Pop Star", produced by Wendy Harris, Joel Ozretich & Kristian St. Clair, with jazz historian Douglas Payne serving as creative consultant, it made the official selection of several Film Festivals around the world, including the ones of Seattle, Mar del Plata, Tallgrass and the Santa Cruz Film Festival 2007. "An adorable homage to creativity", like the San Francisco Bay Guardian wrote.
Featuring appearances by Airto Moreira, Stan Getz, Bill Evans (playing "Gary's Tune", an excerpt from that famous "Jazz at the Maintenance Shop" 1979 concert with Marc Johnson & Joe LaBarbera), Clark Terry, Phil Woods, Grady Tate, Joe Beck, Emile Charlap, Bob Brookmeyer, Sy Johnson, Steve Kuhn (whose masterpiece album was produced and arranged by McFarland in 1971), Gene Lees, Richard Davis and the Wendy & Bonnie duo.
Airto, who recorded on McFarland's "Today" album and had his debut solo LP, "Natural Feelings", produced by the vibraphonist/arranger/composer for the Skye label (co-founded by Gary, Gabor Szabo & Cal Tjader), reminds about his playing on McFarland's memorial service. Joe Beck has the courage to tell how much Gary and himself (along with other musicians) were robbed by a famous producer. And the sequence with Grady Tate and NY's top musical contractor Emile Charlap reading the credits of an album, and finding out that most of the musicians are dead now, is a masterpiece on black humor.
I've only missed Creed Taylor, who should have been interviewed (maybe he declined the invitation), since he produced some of McFarland's most memorable albums for Verve, such as "Big Band Bossa Nova" (his pairing with Stan Getz) and the sublime "The Gary McFarland Orchestra - Special Guest Soloist: Bill Evans", both recently reissued.
Bravo, Kristian!

1 comment:

Sergej said...

Where can i buy this one? Thank you