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March 10, 2016 @ 8:00 am - May 5, 2016 @ 5:00 pm


The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery for African and African American Art presents a weekly cinema series that documents the widespread and deep historical influences of jazz. The series is part of the gallery’s ongoing exhibition “Art of Jazz: FORM/PERFORMANCE/NOTES.”


The nine films featured include performances by legendary artists such as Billie Holiday, Thelonius Monk and the Count Basie Orchestra; documentaries including Mingus: Charlie Mingus, which follows the bassist as he is forcibly evicted from his New York City apartment; and features such as Bird, Clint Eastwood’s biography of Charlie “Bird” Parker starring Forest Whitaker, and Round Midnight, the fictional portrayal of a Paris jazzman battling drug and alcohol addiction. Also featured are Syncopation: Short Jazz Films, which contains legendary performances from the 1930s, and The Last of the Blue Devils, a 1980 documentary on Kansas City jazz that marks the transition from big bands to the improvisation of bebop.


The Cooper Gallery jazz film series schedule is below.


March 10, 12 p.m.: Greatest Jazz Films Ever Volume 1 (2005):

  • The compilation includes a rare appearance of Charlie “Bird” Parker with Dizzy Gillespie, as well as Miles Davis playing with John Coltrane.

March 17, 12 p.m.:  Greatest Jazz Films Ever Volume 2 (2005)

  • The collection excerpts The Sound of Jazz, a TV episode from 1957 where legends like Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Thelonius Monk and more performed.

March 24, 12 p.m.:  Syncopation (1942)

  • The movie covers ragtime, jazz, boogie woogie, swing, and the blues through the early 20th century up to the outbreak of World War II. Directed by William Dieterle.

March 31, 12 p.m.:  Syncopation: Short Jazz Films (1942)

  • The film features performances by Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Hoagy Carmichael, Artie Shaw, and more.

April 7, 12 p.m.: The Last of the Blue Devils (1980)

  • The film chronicles the 1979 reunion of legendary artists who gave birth to Kansas City jazz, including Count Basie. Directed by Bruce Ricker.

April 14, 12 p.m.: Mingus: Charlie Mingus (1968)

  • The documentary intercuts footage of Mingus and his sextet performing at a small club with scenes of him being evicted from his New York City apartment. Directed by Thomas Reichman.

April 21, 12 p.m.: Round Midnight (1986)

  • The film portrays an African-American jazzman who moves to Paris in the 1950s to find an audience more appreciative of his art and accepting of his race. Directed by Bertrand Tavernier.

April 28, 12 p.m.: Thelonius Monk: Straight No Chaser (1988)

  • The documentary highlights the life of the seminal jazz pianist and composer, with much of the footage stemming from a 1968 performance. Directed by Charlotte Zerwin.

May 5, 12 p.m.: Bird (1988)

The Oscar-winning biography portrays the soaring skill and destructive excesses of Charlie “Bird” Parker, a role that won several awards for actor Forest Whitaker. Directed by Clint Eastwood.


March 10, 2016 @ 8:00 am
May 5, 2016 @ 5:00 pm
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