Brubeck in context: The BBC’s ‘1959: The Year That Changed Jazz’


 
Pianist Dave Brubeck’s shedding of his mortal coil yesterday reminds us how important it is to view a figure like him in relation to his time.

Luckily we have BBC4’s 2009 documentary, 1959: The Year That Changed Jazz to do just that. Produced by documentarian Paul Bernays and UK jazz DJ Jez Nelson, 1959 scrutinizes the impact of Brubeck’s classic Time Out album alongside three others from that year: Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, Charles Mingus’s Ah Um and Ornette Coleman’s The Shape Of Jazz To Come.

The main Brubeck segment starts 12 minutes in, and the doc explores both the racial politics inherent in the Brubeck phenomenon, and the influence of his band’s groundbreaking 1959 tour of the Soviet Bloc, Mideast and South Asia on Time Out. But the whole hour is worth watching, if only for the compelling close-readings of masterpieces like Davis’s iconic “So What,” Coleman’s intense “Lonely Woman,” Mingus’s firey “Fables of Faubus.” The doc’s juxtaposition of Brubeck’s ascendance to Mr. Cool-ness against Coleman’s Cold War-tinged urgency is also a nice touch.

With an interview roster that includes Hal Wilner, Lou Reed, Stanley Crouch, Charlie Haden, Sue Mingus, Herbie Hancock and Nat Hentoff, 1959 offers up some crucial background as to what made Brubeck and his contemporaries what they were.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Dave Brubeck Quartet: In Concert, Germany 1966

 

Written by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
YouTube frees BBC’s Ziggy Stardust & Quadrophenia docs from futile UK-only restriction

David & Pete
“Jesus, darling—when do you reckon they’ll learn?”

As good as the BBC is at making authoritative and expertly styled documentaries on virtually everything, it seems bizarrely in denial of the YouTube age.

As with its programs on punk, reggae, synthesizers, and krautrock, the Beeb’s rights department seems strangely bent on keeping its pop history lessons imprisoned in its UK-only iPlayer nick, even while kind YouTube uploaders like LisbonExpress and Syden2 hook up the colonies with the good-good.

Ah well. Here’s the BBC’s doc on David Bowie’s creation of his Ziggy Stardust persona…
 

 
After the jump, the Beeb doc on how Pete Townshend & the Who made Quadrophenia…

Written by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
‘The Power Of The Witch’ - super rare British witchcraft documentary from 1971


 
What a find! The Power Of The Witch is a documentary about witchcraft as it was practised in the late 60s and early 70s in the UK - apparently it was only screened once and there is practically no information about it on the web. From the uploader taitsitarot‘s YouTube description:

An extremely rare documentary about Witchcraft aired once in the UK in 1971. Featuring contributions from Eleanor Bone, Cecil Williamson, Alex & Maxine Sanders [above], Doreen Valiente et al. Very much of its time and with some very rare footage, also includes reference to the famously unsolved murder of Charles Walton on Meon Hill.

The Power Of The Witch is worth a watch even if you are not particularly interested in the occult - rather watch it as a document of its time, capturing as it does people’s attitudes, beliefs, fashions and plummy Brit accents. It’s a curious mixture of patriarchal stiff upper lip-ism and unerring belief in both Christianity and the forces of magic, making it feel very much as if it comes from a completely different era. Not to mention, it’s a goldmine of potential witch haus footage:
 

 
Thanks to Seth David Rodriguez!

Written by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
‘The Artist Formerly Known As Captain Beefheart’ - the complete documentary


Captain Beefheart t-shirt by Black And White T-shirts

This excellent documentary from 1997, narrated by John Peel and shown as part of a commemorative BBC Peel Night, has been online for a while but finally arrives in one 50 minute long piece thanks to uploader abrahamisagreatman. You may have seen this before, but it’s definitely worth another watch:

Written by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
From The Byrds To The Eagles: Terrific BBC documentary on Southern California rock
11.11.2010
10:40 pm

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:
BBC documentary
Byrds
Barney Hoskins
Eagles

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In-depth and fascinating, Hotel California: LA from The Byrds to The Eagles charts the evolution of the Southern California rock scene of the sixties thru the seventies. Based on Barney Hoskin’s book of the same name, this is good stuff, whether or not you’re a fan of the lite psych/folk sound of L.A., Topanga Canyon and points West. Myself, I can do without The Eagles, CSN&Y and Jackson Browne, but The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, solo Neil Young and Joni Mitchell still tingle my spine.
 

 

 
Parts 3 thru 7 after the jump…

Written by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Julian Cope explores the geography of the mystic

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In addition to being a smashing songwriter, singer and memoirist, Julian Cope has spent the past 20 years exploring and documenting Britain’s megalithic heritage: monuments, stone circles, hill forts and barrows. In this documentary made for the BBC, we follow Cope on his journey into the geography of the mystic, a place of ceremony and magic.

The documentary is a companion piece to Cope’s splendid, sadly out-of-print, 1998 book ‘The Modern Antiquarian’. Fortunately, for those of us interested in sacred places he curates a website and you can find it here.

Since launching in March 2000ce, the site has grown to be a massive resource for news, information, images, folklore & weblinks on the ancient sites across the UK, Ireland and Europe.

 

 
Watch parts 2-6 after the jump…

Written by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Very cool documentary on the New York City/London punk scene of the 1970’s: Watch it now!
10.14.2010
11:18 pm

Topics:
History
Punk

Tags:
Punk
BBC documentary
Blank Generation

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More rock and roll goodness from The Seven Ages Of Rock.

A tale of two cities, London and New York and the birth of punk. Each city created a bastard child that marked the biggest and fundamental shift in popular music since Elvis walked into Sun Studios. ‘Blank Generation’ examines the relationship between the bankrupt New York and the class and race-riven London of the mid- 70’s and explores the music of The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Ramones, Television, Patti Smith, The Damned and Buzzcocks

 

Written by Marc Campbell | Discussion