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Speed Cinema Presents: Fire Music: The Story of Free Jazz

December 17, 2021 at 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Fire Music: The Story of Free Jazz
Directed by Tom Surgal


$12 / $8 Speed members

“Crammed with exhilarating sounds, moving reminiscences and stimulating arguments that [free jazz] is not just music, but vital music.”—Glenn Kenny, New York Times

In the late 1950s, after the Abstract Expressionists had taken the art world by storm and the Beats had forever changed the face of literature, a new radical form of Jazz erupted from New York’s Lower East Side. This new music was a far cry from the toe-tapping, post-Bebop sound of the Jazz mainstream popular in the day. This was an angry form of Jazz that mirrored the more turbulent times in which it was being played. The young mavericks who pioneered this movement came to create some of the most unconventional sounds ever heard. They eschewed every preconceived notion of what music was, abandoning melody, tonality, set time rhythms, the very concept of composition itself, creating new songs spontaneously on the fly.

Although the Free Jazz movement of the 1960s and ‘70s was much maligned in some jazz circles, its pioneers–brilliant talents like Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, and John Coltrane–are today acknowledged as central to the evolution of jazz as America’s most innovative art form.

Fire Music: The Story of Free Jazz showcases the architects of a movement whose radical brand of improvisation pushed harmonic and rhythmic boundaries and produced landmark albums like Coleman’s Free Jazz: A Collective Inspiration as well as Coltrane’s Ascension. A rich trove of archival footage conjures the 1960s jazz scene along with incisive reflections by critic Gary Giddins and several of the movement’s key players. New York Times Critic’s Pick. 2021, U.S., DCP, 88 minutes. Recommended for 16+.

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December 17, 2021
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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