Cool Cats image courtesy of NWFF
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.
More info at nwfilmforum.org.
November 3, 7:30pm
Cool Cats tells the story two jazz giants who are forced to relocate to a musical smalltown.
In the mid-1960s, tenor saxophone stars Ben Webster and Dexter Gordon leave behind America and its fierce political climate – as well as a long trail of heavy alcohol and heroin abuse.
They are in desperate need of help as they travel to Europe. When they reach Copenhagen, they find what they need: A caring welfare system and an even more caring, jazz-loving population who greets the two tenor sax players as musical saviors. They are getting paid after jobs, they are treated with respect, and the Danish women are more than happy to make the musicians feel at home. They are even given free rehab sessions, sometimes lasting several months.
In turn, Webster and Gordon help Copenhagen transform into one of the most attractive and busy jazz cities in Europe by their presence alone. But it soon turns out that all the attractions of the small, fairy tale-like Scandinavian capital pose a threat to their music – and their lives. They each have to decide how to survive.
The film’s visual backbone consists of Ben Webster’s own 8MM footage which resurfaces here for the first time. Furthermore, the film contains numerous extremely rare clips with the two jazz greats.