As was previously announced, EIFF 2020 would have included The Big Score, a retrospective exploration of innovation in the film score featuring work by composers Mica Levi, Delia Derbyshire and Ennio Morricone. To accompany this, there was to be a focus on the relationship between jazz and cinema with films scored by musicians including Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and John Coltrane. Although EIFF 2020 is postponed for now, it’s still possible to share certain materials relevant to this programme. Here’s a quick guide to some related retrospective/documentary content that’s currently available free online.
Having scored the superb Under the Skin (2013), Levi recently joined forces once again with director Jonathan Glazer for his new short film The Fall (2019). The Fall is currently available via the BBC iPlayer.
More information on Derbyshire can be found in the BBC Radio 4 documentary Sculptress of Sound: The Lost Works of Delia Derbyshire.
A key title in our postponed programme, The Morricone Duel (2018) captures a superb performance of the Maestro’s greatest hits and more by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra with conductor Sarah Hicks. The Danish Broadcasting Corporation hosts a selection of highlights from the concert on their DR Koncerthuset YouTube.
Watch an excerpt of Morricone receiving his Honorary Academy Award® from Clint Eastwood at the 79th Academy Awards in 2007 here.
Or watch an excerpt of Morricone winning Best Original Score at the Oscars® for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (2015) at the 88th Academy Awards in 2016 here.
Here is some rare footage of Davis recording his ground-breaking score for Louis Malle’s Ascenseur Pour L'échafaud (1958) via The Criterion Collection on YouTube.
As seen in Murray Lerner’s documentary Miles Electric: A Different Kind of Blue (2004), here is Davis’ legendary performance at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, courtesy of Eagle Rock Entertainment on YouTube.
Davis gives Nicolas Cage a trumpet lesson on The Dick Cavett Show in 1986, seen here.
Providing deep insight into Davis, Stanley Nelson’s recent documentary, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (2019) is currently available on BBC iPlayer.
And here, thanks to Landmark Theatres, is the extended Q&A from the film’s LA premiere featuring director Nelson with, amongst others, jazz greats Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock.
Watch an excerpt of Hancock winning the Best Original Score Oscar for Bertrand Tavernier’s Round Midnight (1986) at the 59th Academy Awards in 1987 here.
Famously sampled by Deee-Lite for their 1990 hit Groove is in the Heart, listen to Hancock’s Bring Down the Birds from Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow Up (1966) here.
Hancock’s official YouTube channel is a treasure trove for jazz fans. Amongst the many highlights are three rare television appearances from the 1970s:
- Live on Don Kirshner's New Rock Concert in 1976
- Live on Musikladen in 1974 - Spank-A-Lee / Chameleon / Sly
- Live on Jazz Harmonie in 1972
More recently, in 2018, Hancock was featured live on PBS music showcase Austin City Limits. The full episode is available here.
To learn more about Hancock in short PBS/KCET documentary HERBIE HANCOCK: ALL THAT’S JAZZ, click here.
In the early sixties legendary saxophonist John Coltrane delivered his one and only film score, providing the music for Gilles Groulx’s award winning drama Le Chat dans le Sac (1964). Recorded at the famous Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey, Coltrane’s work for Groulx remained unavailable until 2019 when Impulse! Records finally released it on the Blue World album. An official video for the title track can be found here.
Thanks to the National Film Board of Canada, Groulx’s Le Chat dans le Sac is currently available (with English subtitles) to watch in its entirety here.
To find out more about Coltrane’s life and work try John Schienfeld’s Chasing Trane: The Hohn Coltrane Documentary (2016) on Netflix.
MONTREUX JAZZ FESTIVAL
Concerts by Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Quincy Jones, Wu-Tang Clan, Lou Reed, Run DMC, Isaac Hayes and many more have just been made available to stream for free by the Montreux Jazz Festival.
Finally, it’s important to pay tribute to pioneering African musician Manu Dibango who sadly passed away on March 24th after contracting coronavirus. Most famous for his 1972 hit Soul Makossa (the first French language single to earn a gold disc in America), Dibango also delivered scores for several films, including the superb, ultra-rare soundtrack for Ossie Davis’s Countdown at Kusini (1976) (also known as Cool Red). Follow the link to hear Dibango’s timeless dancefloor classic New Bell (Hard Pulsation) from the Soul Makossa album here.