Music Pictures: New Orleans
Four snapshots from behind the rich music scene of New Orleans. Filmmaker Ben Chace (Wah Do Dem; Sin Alas) dips into four recording sessions—jazz, blues, soul, and more jazz—and allows the artists to share their stories, beginning with the Queen of Soul, the legendary Irma Thomas; then Benny Jones from the Treme Brass Band; King of the Blues, Little Freddie King; and finally, father and son, Ellis and Jason Marsalis, on piano and vibraphone, respectively.
Chace might have expanded any one of these vignettes into a feature-length documentary; instead he gives us a buffet, a taster, or a playlist if you will, and invites us to draw out the connections between these veteran African-American artists who found their métier making music long ago, but continue to create, compose, and inspire. The director is himself a musician, and it shows: there is a shorthand that musicians share and which underscores the sessions captured here. As for the music, you’ll want to get up and dance.
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Ben Chace has directed several independent feature films including Wah Do Dem (2010), which won the Jury Prize at the Los Angeles Film Festival, was shortlisted for Best Film at BFI London Film Festival and was listed in Artforum’s Top 10 Films of 2010. His follow-up Sin Alas (2016), the first American-produced feature filmed in Cuba since 1959, screened at AFI Latin American Film Festival and Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam and was distributed by Kino Lorber. Ben grew up in Providence, Rhode Island and attended NYU Gallatin School.
Filmography: Wah Do Dem (2010); Sin Alas (2016)