As part of the 22nd Film festival in 2013 we screened a documentary on the late great Scottish jazz saxophonist Bobby Wellins, followed by a live gig with the Bobby Wellins quartet playing - and so the Live Jazz and Film evening was born. Each year I scheduled a documentary film (Stan Tracy, Tubby Hayes etc) or theme (latin Jazz with Georgia Mancio) with a live jazz session. To mark this annual festival event, we are screening a great jazz film - Clint Eastwood’s film on Charlie Parker - ‘Bird’. - Roger Gibson.
‘Bird’ traces the life of Charlie Parker, a 1940's soloist jazz great whose improvisation abilities led him to become one of the most acclaimed figure in his own lifetime. However, his self-destructive behaviour and association with drugs and alcohol caused him to die before he could fully comprehend the public appreciation of his genius. Eastwood worked with a cast of relative unknown stars, and managed to create an entire period piece on the relatively low budget.
Sensitively acted, visually designed, this dramatic story of the troubled life of a man of tremendous warmth and compassion, Eastwood delivers a compelling portrait of an artist with an ambitious presentation of love including a magnificent score, and stunning sound, which won the film an Oscar for best sound. Forest Whitaker gives an excellent performance, with an especially inevitable death scene at the age of 34, and Diane Venora is impressive as the wife of this great jazz musician.
Their last conversation by phone presented the legend Parker's with his conscientious of his near-death, his lost effort, his feeling of loneliness, but also his kindness, his love, and his care to his entire family… A great scene not to be missed!