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7/24 Free Jazz: the sound of silent film

Posted by novoscene on July 24, 2008

As the folks over at 21 Grand continue their battle with the gods of permits and city bureaucracy, here’s another reason why this spot really needs to stay open. Tonight’s show features experimental drummer William Hooker performing a live score for “Symbol of the Unconquered,” a rarely seen 1920 silent film from filmmaker Oscar Micheaux, arguably one the greatest and most underrated directors in the first half of the last century.

Hooker, who moved to New York in 1974, remained fundamentally faithful to the aesthetic of free-jazz… starting with the double-LP Is Eternal Life (1975), a set of collaborations with other improvisers, including tenor saxophonists David Murray and David Ware. Rediscovered by Sonic Youth’s guitarist Thurston Moore for the rock audience, Hooker returned to a more abstract and free-form kind of creative improvisation. His recent work has included projects with Zeena Parkins, DJ Olive, Lee Renaldo, and Christian Marclay. Opening set by the Weasel Walter Quintet (Liz Allbee – trumpet, Aurora Josephson – voice, Jacob Lindsay – clarinets, Weasel Walter – drums, William Winant – percussion).This quintet featuring five idiosyncratic, skilled improvisers from the bay area scene creates a music that tempers microscopic detail and nuance with bloodyminded humor and chaos.

Here’s a video of Hooker scoring the film at last years’ Rhythm in the Kitchen Jazz Festival

William Hooker performance/Symbol of the Unconquered screening
$7-10
8:30pm
21 Grand
416 25th St. Oakland
510.444.7263
http://www.21grand.org

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