“The Connection” (1961): Best Jazz Movies
In the late 1950s the experimental Living Theatre stage company in New York produced a groundbreaking play featuring real-life musicians playing junkies waiting for their fix. (During the run, young actors Al Pacino and Martin Sheen cleaned the theater’s toilets.) A few years later director Shirley Clarke adapted the play into a boundary-busting feature film using the same actors (including bop pianist Freddie Redd and saxophonist Jackie McLean). “What do you want to hear – that we’re a petty, miserable, self-annihilating microcosm?” one character asks a cameraman. That’s cold, but the music is hot.
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