It’s as cool, & as hot, as Jazz on a Summer’s Day

A Music Documentary Directed by Bert Stern The concert documentary didn't start with Woodstock, Gimme Shelter, or even Monterey Pop. In fact, it didn't even start with rock 'n' roll. But it just may have started with Jazz on a Summer's Day. Shot in and around the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, and released a year … Continue reading It’s as cool, & as hot, as Jazz on a Summer’s Day

What a good music teacher can do: River City Drumbeat

B+ Documentary Directed by Marlon Johnson​ Yes, this is another inspiring music documentary, but that's not a bad thing. River City Drumbeat is about African American children getting a leg up in life thanks to a youth drum team. And no, they're not all expected to have great careers as percussionists. But by working in … Continue reading What a good music teacher can do: River City Drumbeat

Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things

A- entertainment documentary Directed by Leslie Woodhead About halfway through this documentary about the great singer, it occurred to me that it has very little performance footage. Seldom do you actually see her moving while she sings. Far more often, especially in the first half of the film, director Leslie Woodhead shows photos of Fitzgerald … Continue reading Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things

Gerrymandering gets boring in Slay the Dragon

C+ Documentary Directed by Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance We all know that gerrymandering is a threat to our democracy. Filmmakers Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance want us to understand how we can end this problem. But their documentary is sometimes scattered, unfocused, and conventional. It's also occasionally boring. Gerrymandering has been around almost as … Continue reading Gerrymandering gets boring in Slay the Dragon