One of the greatest jazz films ever made, and an affirmation of jazz as an essential expression of African-American culture and the history of Black struggle in Africa and America. The story of the sax player Eddie Warmack and his grandfather and mentor Poppa Harris is a journey back to the roots and a fight against the Whites’ commercial stranglehold of the jazz world: archives, fiction, music and colours give concrete form to the link between jazz and liberation. “The first fifteen minutes of that film is what I call Africana cinema. What African-American cinema is capable of, it’s a jazz cinema literally. It’s a cinematic structure that is jazz. You can see for the first time in the history of film, that an African-American filmmaker makes a film: you see the colours of musical instruments transcribed into colour.” (Haile Gerima)
Born in Ohio, the filmmaker, painter and film professor Larry Clark has had ties with music since his childhood (he is the nephew of the pianist Sonny Clark). He studied at UCLA while teaching at the Performing Arts Society of Los Angeles, founded by the actor Vantile Whitfield, who was a key figure on the African-American cultural scene. Among his films is the neo-Western Cutting Horse (2002).