Sun. Dec 4th, 2022

Half a century after jazz nice Thelonious Monk appeared on a French tv program, a brand new documentary revisits outtakes from the 1969 interview to solid mild on the racism and exploitation of black musicians.

When Monk met fellow musician and French TV producer Henri Renaud at a studio in Paris, it was an opportunity for the famend pianist and composer to advertise his music in Europe.

Beforehand unused footage from their interview options in “Rewind and Play”, a brand new documentary that French-Senegalese director Alain Gomis says “flips the angle” on the facility dynamics between the lads.

“I needed to indicate the machine that manufactures factors of view, that are something however impartial — and the way TV portrayed black musicians at the moment,” he informed AFP in an interview following his movie’s screening on the Marrakech Worldwide Movie Pageant.

In his day, Monk was one of many United States’ most celebrated black musicians.

The movie’s most revealing footage comes as he tells Renaud he believes he’s being economically exploited.

“I used to be the star, folks had been coming to see it, however I wasn’t getting the cash,” Monk says.

Visibly upset, Renaud tells his producer to delete the scene and asks the query once more.

“I had no thought I might made my recognition in France till I received over right here,” Monk says, whereas seated at a piano.

He explains he solely understood his fame when seeing his picture on the duvet of a jazz journal.

Regardless of that, he continues, he struggled to search out musicians to play with.

“I used to be getting much less cash than anyone,” Monk says, chuckling. “That is what occurred.”

After translating the feedback for the digital camera, Renaud says: “I feel it is higher to erase this bit… it is disparaging what he is saying, greatest to not speak about it.”

When Monk begins to inform the story for a 3rd time, Renaud asks him to speak about one thing else.

“It is no secret, is it?” Monk asks.

“No, nevertheless it’s not good,” Renaud responds.

As a pianist, Monk was a proficient improviser and was credited with serving to to develop the bebop model. He produced a string of hits within the jazz requirements library, together with “Spherical Midnight” — famously interpreted by Miles Davis and John Coltrane.

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However the interactions with Renaud are little in need of cringeworthy.

– ‘Spitting within the soup’ –

Gomis, whose earlier work “Felicite” received the Grand Jury Prize on the 2017 Berlin Worldwide Movie Pageant, presents a critique of how Renaud chosen which footage to make use of.

“He builds an embarrassing, subjective illustration of (Monk) and would not let him escape of that framework,” Gomis mentioned.

The movie opens with Renaud leaning on a piano and introducing Monk, who sits on the keys sweating profusely and searching awkward.

“It is like he is saying, ‘Why are you spitting within the soup?’ (biting the hand that feeds). All through the interview, you may really feel that condescension.”

Gomis says Renaud reveals his privileged background when he asks incredulously why Monk put his piano within the kitchen.

Monk responds that it was the one place within the house that it will match.

For a musician of his background, “placing a piano in a kitchen was not a fantasy,” Gomis mentioned.

Monk was born in North Carolina in 1917 however grew up in New York’s San Juan Hill — a poor district that was later demolished and have become Manhattan’s unique Higher West Facet.

Gomis plans to make a full-length biopic on Monk and hopes “Rewind and Play”, attributable to hit French screens in 2023, will assist “deconstruct” the alternate.

“We frequently consider the archive as goal testimony,” he mentioned. “Nevertheless it places throughout the perspective of the one who makes it.”

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By Admin

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