Icons Among Us
DIRECTED BY - Lars Larson, Michael Rivoira, Peter J. Vogt
Icons Among Us: Jazz in the Present Tense, a comprehensive four-part documentary film series, looks at the Jazz music scene today. Through interviews, performance footage, and the voices of the musicians themselves, we explore this music and the divergent influences that are shaping the world of Jazz at the beginning of the 21st Century. Not a historical look at what has been called America's Music but a timely, vibrant trip through the clubs, festival, and the lives of this new generation of jazz musicians. Never before has jazz music been so many different things to so many different people, from hip hop to bebop from jam band to free form, the music continues to grow and shape itself in ways as varied as the musicians who play it. Icons Among Us is a look at all of this and more.
RUNTIME - 220 minutes
RATING - Not Rated
YEAR - 2009
SPECIAL FEATURES (DVD Only) -
Over Two Hours of Special Features including: Performances by Donald Harrison, Jr. Quartet, Bill Frisell Trio, Matthew Shipp, 2011 Grammy® Nominee Danilo Perez, Dafnis Prieto Sextet, The Bad Plus, Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, e.s.t., The Roy Hargrove Quintet and Bugge Weseltoft.; In Depth Profiles of advocates: JAZZREACH, EARSHOT JAZZ and JAZZ FOUNDATION OF AMERICA; 64-page Study & Discussion Guide (CD-ROM).
- Portland Jazz Festival 2011 (Portland, Oregon)
- AFI Project: 20/20 2010 (United States)
- Boulder International Film Festival 2010 (Boulder, CO)
- Melbourne Jazz Festival 2010 (Melbourne, Australia)
- Monterey Jazz Festival 2010 (Monterey, CA)
- AFI Film Festival 2009 (Los Angeles, United States)
- Mill Valley Film Festival 2009 (Mill Valley, United States)
- Seattle International Film Festival 2009 (Seattle, United States)
- Sound Unseen Film and Music Festival 2009 (Minneapolis, United States)
"'Icons' includes much well-filmed footage of musicians performing and rehearsing in clubs and studios. They include Terence Blanchard (who also serves the role of wise elder); Jason Moran; the Bad Plus; and Medeski, Martin and Wood. These purely musical sequences are the major attraction of the program: they indicate what current jazz musicians are actually up to."
-- Ben Ratliff, New York Times
"the documentary is exactly the sort of hard evidence you want to put in front of anyone who believes jazz is anything less than alive and flush with exciting talent.”
-- Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times
“(Ken) Burns' series always will be the Constitution on the subject, this film (Icons) serves as its Bill Of Rights, reminding the viewer that as important as the original documentary was, there occasionally need to be additions such as this work to flesh out the dream more perfectly.”
jazz as a pursuit of truthwritten by theaaronlib on Jun 29th, 2010read all my reviews
this review is from: Icons Among Us (DVD)
Icons Among Us is a film that examines how the jazz scene has survived the splintering fractions of sub-genres and low record sales brought on by present times. This film examines what happens when a music genre lives past it's original cohesive values and sound. As the film progresses, we begin to understand what has held jazz together as a style in modern times is it's ability to adapt and to improvise. While other genres feast on certain ideals and are associated with certain political and social movements, for example punk rock, modern day jazz has moved passed such earthly bonds, rather it has only stayed true to its founding principle of improvisation, of change. In the film there is one quote from Terance Blanchard that reverberated in my head throughout the movie, it was: "the only truth is the truth that constantly changes". Time has simplified jazz, as we see the mosaic of different present day artists playing their own type of jazz we see that jazz has simplified into a basic pursuit of truth. It has become an eternal genre, because while other music genres die once their social establishment falls, jazz does not owe its existence to any sort of outside establishment.
In an era where music is dealing with everything but a depiction of truth, this film reminds us of the value of the pursuit of the elusive and ever changing truth. The ideal of music does not include the use of music as a tool for social change, nor does it define music as devotion towards it's own tradition and nor is it a tool for self identification. Rather music at it's best is a way to search for truth, a way to explain the world. So in the end this film does more than just illuminate todays jazz scene, it illuminates what is lacking in the entire modern music scene.