JazzTown (2023) Film Review | Movie-Blogger.com



The opening shot Ben Makinen‘s JazzTown this is the best thing that the director could come up with to make the viewer like his film: if you don’t know the sound of the instruments, it’s hard to recognize the one that sounds first. Eerie, mysterious, almost translated into the feeling that you can get next to the constantly breaking boundaries of jazz music. A camera shows us the huge city into which we slowly jump headlong, and of course to the sound of a jazzy introduction, which only means that the journey will be exciting. The resonance of the first instrument still vibrates your bones. We’re in Denver, Colorado, and it’s an underground society where a beautiful style of music is recreated daily.

JazzTown a great journey inside a city that knows its jazz. However, it is not the most popular genre in music and few people understand it. Luckily, Makinen doesn’t take music lessons. It’s more about the history of Denver jazz and the few people left who represent the true essence of this complicated musical genre. As hard as it is to listen to people say they like movies JazzTown work as an introductory piece to a world where you can find something you can’t even imagine. That’s the thing about jazz: it means something different to everyone.

The super image of Makinen’s journey through the jazz scene is filled with the testimonies of figures who are essential to the world we discover. It gets a little repetitive, but it stays fresh. The director’s approach is not to make a film that works on its own. There’s a story here that becomes very clear when Makinen decides to get down and tell a story about the mechanics of jazz today. It asks the right questions and gets the right answers: it’s not that the genre is dying. But every day, more and more people are breaking away from the cultural landmarks that have shaped our current society. Jazz is suffering from the invasion of artificial art that is taking place today and is getting stronger every day. On a very nice note, one of the musicians interviewed says he wants jazz to go back to being more about dancing and less about listening.

On that note JazzTown does a great job of removing the stigma associated with jazz. This is not a genre that is only for those who truly understand it completely. Documentary is not divisive in this regard, and accomplishes this unification between those who normally listen and those who merely explore. As another musician says: it should bring people together.

JazzTown ends with a melancholic note. The beginning was so mysterious that it immediately became interesting. But after Makinen puts a lot of emphasis on the current state of jazz and its musicians, he decides to incorporate the personality of the musical genre into the film’s resolution. Jazz can portray sorrow, heartache and darkness. I may be pushing the stereotype, but musical expressions affect everyone differently, and for me there is no better way to end the film than to recognize the spirit of such a multi-layered musical style.

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Federico Furzan

Founder of Screentology. Member of OFCS. RT rated critic
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