Music Shorts

Music Shorts

13 Episodes

Sound and vision come together in perfect harmony in this dynamic selection of music-driven shorts. Encompassing jazz (THE CRY OF JAZZ, KEEPING TIME), folk (SPROUT WINGS AND FLY), soul (SHAKE! OTIS AT MONTEREY), opera (THE MUSIC OF REGRET), and the unclassifiable genre unto herself that is Björk (ALL IS FULL OF LOVE), these single-sized sonic wonders are treats for the eyes and ears alike.

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Music Shorts
  • The Cry of Jazz

    Episode 1

    Directed by Edward Bland • 1959 • United States
    Starring George Waller, Dorothea Horton, Melinda Dillon

    Featuring music by Sun Ra and his Arkestra, this landmark semi-documentary explores—via a heated conversation between a group of Black and white jazz aficionados—the relationship between jazz ...

  • Shake! Otis at Monterey

    Episode 2

    Directed by D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus • 1986 • United States

    Redding, a venerable star of Memphis’s Stax record label, seduced the "love crowd" in one of his best, and last, performances. SHAKE! OTIS AT MONTEREY, feature the entire set of this legendary musician, a performance that has ...

  • Sprout Wings and Fly

    Episode 3

    Directed by Les Blank • 1983 • United States

    Fiddling legend Tommy Jarrell shares his gifts with a new generation.

  • All Is Full of Love

    Episode 4

    Directed by Chris Cunningham • 1999 • United Kingdom
    Starring Björk

    Two machine-manufactured automatons experience a moment of tenderness in the music video for the single from Björk’s album “Homogenic.”

  • When it Rains

    Episode 5

    Directed by Charles Burnett • 1995 • United States

    Charles Burnett paints a jazz- and poetry-inflected portrait of African American community and resilience via the story of a mother who enlists a musician’s help when she is evicted on New Year’s Day.

  • Date With Dizzy

    Episode 6

    Directed by John Hubley • 1955 • United States
    Starring Dizzy Gillespie

    Jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie is hired to record the soundtrack for a television commercial—but the music has a mind of its own in this irreverent blend of live-action and animation.

  • BLACK JOURNAL: Alice Coltrane

    Episode 7

    Directed by Stan Lathan • 1970 • United States

    In this intimate portrait—produced for a segment of National Education Television's “Black Journal” television program—legendary jazz musician Alice Coltrane plays the harp and discusses her thoughts on music, spirituality, family, and the legacy of...

  • Daybreak Express

    Episode 8

    Directed by D. A. Pennebaker • 1953 • United States

    Shot in 1953, though not completed until 1957, DAYBREAK EXPRESS was the first film D. A. Pennebaker made, a mad rush of images of New York City captured from a train and edited to the rhythm of Duke Ellington’s song of the same name. A jazz afi...

  • Keeping Time

    Episode 9

    Directed by Darol Olu Kae • 2023 • United States

    The Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (The Ark) has been a legend in Los Angeles’s avant-garde jazz community for over sixty years. But since the death of its founder, pianist and composer Horace Tapscott, the band has spent the last three decades ebbi...

  • Liberian Boy

    Episode 10

    Directed by Mati Diop and Manon Lutanie • 2015 • France, Canada
    Starring Jules Langlade

    A boy channels his inner Michael Jackson in this experimental dance film set to a pulsing electro-pop beat.

  • The Musicians

    Episode 11

    Directed by Kazimierz Karabasz • 1960 • Poland

    Presented here is THE MUSICIANS, by Kazimierz Karabasz. Karabasz was a teacher at the Lodz Film School, where director Krzysztof Kieślowski studied, and a great influence on the young filmmaker.

  • Opera No. 1

    Episode 12

    Directed by Hal Hartley • 1994 • United States
    Starring Patricia Dunnock, Parker Posey, Adrienne Shelly

    Mistaken identities, miscast spells, and rollerblades abound in this comical mini-opera following the exploits of two goddesses interfering with the lives of mortals.

  • The Music of Regret

    Episode 13

    Directed by Laurie Simmons • 2006 • United States
    Starring Meryl Streep, Adam Guettel, Tony Nation

    An extension of artist Laurie Simmons’s photographic work, in which she stages dreamlike tableaux using puppets and dolls, this unclassifiable musical brings her singularly surreal world to life. I...