Mary Lou Williams photo by W. Eugene Smith/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Northwest Film Forum & Earshot Jazz team up to present this annual film program that shed light on the vibrant history of this great American art form, and the lives of some of its greatest composers and performers.
Tickets are $12 general admission / $9 students & seniors / $7 members.
More info at nwfilmforum.org.
King of Jazz
New digital restoration!
Sunday, October 22, 4pm
(John Murray Anderson, 1930, United States, 1h 38m)
A grandiose revue classic, starring Paul Whiteman and his orchestra, the Russell Markert girls (later to become the Rockettes), and featuring two notable firsts: Bing Crosby’s first film appearance, and the first cartoon sequence ever animated in Technicolor.
Bouncing freely between musical numbers, narrative, and dazzling dance sequences, King of Jazz makes an extravagant use of Technicolor that often borders on the absurd. Take a seat for a joyful, exuberant walk through the history of jazz, movie magic, and the glamor in between.
Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band
Sunday, October 29, 4pm
(Carol Bash, 2015, United States, 1h)
Mary Lou Williams was a leading musical innovator determined to create in a world that only saw her race or gender. She was ahead of her time, a genius. During an era when jazz was the nation’s popular music, Mary Lou Williams was one of its greatest innovators. As both a pianist and composer, she was a font of daring and creativity who helped shape the sound of 20th-century America. And like the dynamic, turbulent nation in which she lived, Williams seemed to redefine herself with every passing decade.
From child prodigy to “Boogie-Woogie Queen” to groundbreaking composer to mentoring some of the greatest musicians of all time, Mary Lou Williams never ceased to astound those who heard her play. But away from the piano, Williams was a woman in a man’s world, a black person in a whites-only society, an ambitious artist who dared to be different, and who struggled against the imperatives of being a star. Above all, she did not fit the (still) prevailing notions of where genius comes from or what it looks like.
Time and again, she pushed back against a world that said, “You can’t,” and said, “I can.” It nearly cost her everything.