A masterful Arena, exploring cool jazz – but rather than taking the normal route of talking heads, here the music tells the story, with occasional narration, on-screen quotes from the musicians, clips from all sorts of places, even a brief Allen Ginsberg reading. There’s also wonderful original incidental music by George Taylor. Worth watching, even if you think you don’t like jazz.
Humphrey Lyttelton, who died earlier this evening, loved Buddy Bolden, a troubled, almost mythical jazz trumpeter from turn-of-the-century New Orleans. In his later life, Humph attempted a kind of reconstruction of Bolden’s music, which can’t have been easy because it was never recorded in his lifetime. I’d like to have featured one of Humph’s Bolden videos here by way of a tribute (there are lots on YouTube) but embedding is switched off for these videos. So here, more obliquely, is a six-minute introduction to Bolden from Ken Burns’ famous 2001 documentary series Jazz.