Smith, James O. - Organist USA: Europe (Part 1)
About IDFA
Smith, James O. - Organist USA: Europe (Part 1)
IDFA 2015

Smith, James O. - Organist USA: Europe (Part 1)

Klaus Wildenhahn
55 min
Festival history
In November 1965, the American jazz organist James Smith arrived in Frankfurt for his first major European tour. His Jimmy Smith Trio played in a double bill with the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet. Making innovative use of the new portable cameras with synchronized sound recording, filmmaker Klaus Wildenhahn directed an account for German TV that captured the musicians both on and offstage. The career of Jimmy Smith is at its apex: with his fast improvisations on the Hammond organ, he has garnered a large group of admirers. While most of his followers in the United States are African-American jazz aficionados, his European audience comes from a more diverse background. In backstage conversations, black-white relations and the importance of jazz music versus the popular beat tunes are central themes. In Smith’s words, “On the stage we play the truth, no gimmicks.” The film is constructed according to the free structure of a jazz composition and shot in observational Direct Cinema style, only interrupted here and there by a voice-over that provides background information or translates what’s being said in the conversations.
Screening copy
    Freunde der Deutsche Kinemathek
    Freunde der Deutsche Kinemathek
World Sales
    Studio Hamburg Enterprises GmbH
    Studio Hamburg Enterprises GmbH