Icons Among Us
DIRECTED BY - Lars Larson, Michael Rivoira, Peter J. Vogt
Jazz is undergoing changes of monumental magnitude and importance. Icons Among Us: jazz in the present tense is a documentary film that captures the metamorphosis of jazz by showcasing the words, music, and spirit of the artists that are paving the way for an unprecedented musical revolution. Through interviews and live performance footage, we explore the thoughts and lives of the musicians spearheading today's jazz front lines.
RUNTIME - 90 minutes
RATING - Not Rated
YEAR - 2009
SPECIAL FEATURES (DVD Only) -
74 Minutes of Special Features including: Performances by Donald Harrison, Jr. Quartet, Matthew Shipp, Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band, THe Roy Hargrove Quintet and Bugge Weseltoft. Icon's First Frames: LIVING DAYLIGHTS Mardi Gras Party 2002, In Depth Profiles of advocates: JAZZREACH, EARSHOT JAZZ and JAZZ FOUNDATION OF AMERICA, Production Slideshow.
- 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
"Gifted trumpeter Terence Blanchard sets the tone for perhaps the entire series when he says, 'There's a quiet revolution going on in jazz . . . the quietest revolution I've ever heard in my life.' With the help of this documentary and a little luck, perhaps the revolution will get just a little bit louder."
-- Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times Music Blog
"...inter-connectivity between the older and younger generation of players, and between the musician and listener, creates the hybrid, that experience that is bigger than the sum of the parts. And Icons' creators feel that the documentary's viewers will never look at jazz in the same way. (Executive Producer) Comerford explains further. 'Other than Hollywood movies, there isn't much out there that can draw an inter-generational audience... The jazz musician is discovering something in the 'dialogue' (playing with the group) and 'monologue' (solo), so every feeling that the musician is experiencing, the audience experiences too. When the 'loop' is created, the discovery is utterly authentic and extremely powerful. It communicates 'meaning,' something people need more now than ever.'"
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.