Jazz Nights – A Confidential Journey

For those accustomed to technical details, in my postings, included photos were captured with an iPhone 6 Plus with HRD processing in Snapseed.

Today’s post has only a slight connection to photography, yet it is almost completely dependant on photography.  OK, not just photography, but the way intimate stories can be told using the video capability  of current DSLR (and Micro 4/3s) cameras.  On Tuesday evening, I went to see the first screening of a new documentary film, Jazz Nights – A Confidential Journey.  When I say, first screening, I don’t mean a premiere.  While the film has been finished, in the sense of shooting and editing, it can not yet be shown at film festivals, streamed or put into theatrical release because the producers are still acquiring clearance for some of the music played in the film.  There is some fundraising to be done.  According to Producer/Director, Hal Masonberg, the film cost less than $10,000 to make, but the music licensing could be triple that amount, for theatrical release.  (Music written by the included musicians has been donated to the film).  In the interim, private audiences can be invited to screening, for a donation. Tuesday evening, the documentary was screened at the Canon Hollywood Professional Technology And Support Center Showroom.

The genesis of the film was actually audio recordings.  Hal Masonberg was a long-time filmmaker, but also a big music fan.  When he became aware of a slightly *illegal (because of its location) series of jazz performances, he began making audio recordings, both for the benefit of the musicians, and his own enjoyment.  Eventually, Hal decided that he was witnessing an opportunity to make a great documentary film, not only for it’s beautiful musicianship, but for it’s place in history.

“This feels increasingly important to me as many music-lovers and musicians alike have voiced concern that jazz itself is struggling for attention and relevance in today’s modern world. As a result, I knew these L.A. Confidential gigs were potentially a fleeting moment in time and could disappear without warning. Good thing I chose to film when I did as JAZZ NIGHTS ended up documenting what turned out to be the FINAL GIGS played by these musicians at LACon. The hash bar has since been dismantled, leaving absolutely no trace of its existence.

“Except for our film.”  

—  Hal Masonberg

Following the screening, there was a Q&A session, featuring the director and musicians.  While Masonberg served as producer, director, and editor (the editing is amazing and took about a year and a half), the film would be nothing without the group of extremely talented musician, and their willingness to open and share of themselves, not only musically, but in the narrative.  I hope I haven’t missed anyone, or misspelled any names, but the featured musicians were:  “Double G” – Geoff Gallegos, Shante Palmer, Emile Porée, Mike Khalil, Jon Dalton, JP Maramba, Jordan Katz and Josh Duron.

Jazz Nights Director and Musicians

Jazz Nights Director and Musicians

At the conclusion of the Q&A, everyone picked up their instruments and played a very intimate set.  (OK, no one picked up the drum kit, nor the bass).

Jazz Nights Live Set

Jazz Nights Live Set

Jazz Nights Live Set

Jazz Nights Live Set

Jazz Nights Live Set

Jazz Nights Live Set

To learn more about the film, the musicians, the process, and very importantly, to make a tax-deductible donation to assist in securing licensing and post-production costs, please visit the Jazz Nights – A Confidential Journey web site.  Direct link to make a donation, http://jazznightsfilm.com/jazz-nights-contribution-page/

*…The hash bar itself was illegal even under state law. You can have a medical dispensary, but you can not allow consumption on the premises. The hash bar was simply illegal across the boards.”  — Hal Masonberg

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