DVD documentary of the great jazz trio of Joe McPhee, Dominic Duval and Jay Rosen, recorded in March of 2006 in Vilnius, Lithuania.
"Too few musicians in the past have been able to tell their own personal stories. It has been up to historians and critics to do the work of "educating" (sometimes inaccurately) the public about the music that is seemingly less than accessible, but for the musician the most real. Fortunately, present-day technology affords musicians the opportunity to widely disseminate their own self-portraits. And The Train & The River, filmed in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2006, provides such a portrait, documenting in memorable detail a trio of musicians who continued their pursuit after going unnoticed at the Vision Festival in New York years ago. The trio? Trio X, comprised of multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee, bassist Dominic Duval and drummer Jay Rosen.
Borrowing its title from a Jimmy Giuffre piece of the same name, this visual and aural record of Trio X corresponds more to a foreign film than to a typical jazz musician documentary. The film is a pastiche of highly saturated or digitally overlaid colors within crystalline or unfocused river-scapes and train-scapes juxtaposed with muted wintry scenes of the members of the trio walking and talking together in open city- spaces. Interwoven into the mix are separate interviews of each of the trio members, but the questions are always unheard.
Dominating the soundscape is the trio's music. Among the songs featured are distinctive, inimitable versions of "My Funny Valentine" and "God Bless the Child," which ebb and flow throughout the entire film. The music subsides only when the sound of the chugging train passes through the continuum of the story or when the musicians are talking directly to the camera. Footage of the trio playing in a large hall supplies several invaluable, on-location focal points. At these moments the viewer can observe the players and their instruments in a way that would normally escape an audience. The views of the trio are mostly from a distance, as if from the back of the hall. Yet, some of the shots are close-ups that place the spectator near enough to McPhee's tenor to spot the details of the engraving in the bell of the horn; or so close to Duval's fingers that the viewer is able to detect the vibration of the bass strings in response to the performer's bowing; and close enough to Rosen's snare to reveal his brushes splaying as they hit the skin. [...]"-Lyn Horton
PAL format, region not specified,
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NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
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