Jazz on Film

With the latest Jazz on Film series, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents three weekends of boppin’ documentaries, concerts, animated flicks and feature films, some rarely seen other than in grainy bootleg versions. “Like cinema, jazz has been an ever-evolving mix of different elements and influences,”- says series curator Peter Lucas. “And, I think, more than any other music in the past century, jazz and its subcultures have profoundly inspired and influenced filmmakers around the globe.”

Among the films is Louis Malle’s 1958 Elevator to the Gallows, which features an improvised score by Miles Davis. There’s also Let’s Get Lost, the bittersweet portrait of Chet Baker and the ravages of his drug addiction, and Space Is the Place a sci-fi musical about the real-life “intergalactic” jazzman Sun Ra. But Lucas’s favorite entry is 1966’s A Man Called Adam, in which Sammy Davis Jr. appears as a troubled trumpet player (ghosted on soundtrack by Nat Adderley) in a plot that involves music, civil rights and racism. “I believe,” Lucas says, “that the archival film print we’ll be showing may be the only one in existence!”

Screenings times and dates vary. June 7 to June 21. For a full schedule, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org. $10.
Sat., June 7, 7 p.m., 2014

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero