"As someone steeped in modern jazz, I tried to improvise my writing over factual backdrops the way a jazz musician solos over fixed chord changes." - Jonathan Rosenbaum
The needs-no-introduction film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum turned seventy today.
My rather personal ties with the Chicago-based critic, and the reason of featuring him in Take the "A" Train comes from our mutual love of jazz, which, aside from its ecstatic pleasures (that sometimes surpasses cinema’s), can assists writers in the ways they approach any other art form. Rosenbaum’s articles about jazz offer a wealth of insights in additional to being historically important and offering insight into the use of the jazz idiom in film literature. For the former I can point to his invaluable documentation and criticism of rare jazz films for Monthly Film Bulletin in the 1970s (I recently discovered his pioneering Black and Tan piece in the aforementioned publication has been the subject of ruthless plagiarism in a prestigious Duke Ellington biography) and as for the latter, I draw your attention to his first autobiographical and improvised book, Moving Places (Second Ed., University of California Press, 1995).
a scene from an experimental film
Celebrating Jonathan's 70 birthday (while now he is busy teaching a course on film criticism in Mexico City) I have three pieces to offer, or rather Jonathan has provided me with three invaluable pieces to share with my readers:
INTERVIEW WITH JONATHAN ROSENBAUM ABOUT JAZZ AND CINEMA
AN INDEX OF JONATHAN ROSENBAUM'S ARTICLES ABOUT JAZZ AND FILM
JONATHAN AS YOUR JAZZ DJ, WITH A PLAYLIST OF HIS FAVORITE JAZZ TRACKS
...and happy birthday JR!