April 17–September 15, 2008
Download the Jazz Score brochure in PDF format
In 1951, Alex North's music for Elia Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire opened up jazz scoring to a new generation of composers, including Elmer Bernstein, Duke Ellington, Bernard Herrmann, Quincy Jones, Henry Mancini, and Lalo Schifrin. Significantly, this jazz renaissance coincided with the breakup of the Hollywood studio system and the emergence of independent film directors, including John Cassavetes, Shirley Clarke, and Herbert Danska. These directors experimented not only with diverse film styles and techniques, but also with more improvisational forms of jazz like hard bop, modal jazz, and Afro-Cuban jazz. This was equally true of European and Japanese New Wave filmmakers in the 1950s and 1960s—Jean-Luc Godard, Louis Malle, Roman Polanski, and the American expatriate Joseph Losey among them—who enlisted such legendary artists as Gato Barbieri, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, John Lewis and the Modern Jazz Quartet, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, and Tôru Takemitsu. Jazz continues to be used in diverse ways in contemporary cinema, whether to evoke a writer's paranoid fantasies in David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch (1991; music by Howard Shore and Ornette Coleman) or the tragic devastation of the city that gave birth to jazz itself in Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006; music by Terence Blanchard).
The exhibition is made possible by The Friends of Education of The Museum of Modern Art and by the Nicholas Martini Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Polish Cultural Institute, New York, and by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.
The Tomasz Stanko Quartet with special guest Billy Harper: A Concert Tribute to Krzysztof Komeda
Polish trumpeter and composer Tomasz Stanko and American saxophonist Billy Harper, praised by The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Down Beat as two of the best jazz improvisers in the world, will perform together for the first time in a celebration of Krzysztof Komeda's film music. Komeda, who helped to establish Eastern Europe's underground jazz scene in the late 1950s, wrote the unforgettable scores for some forty films, including Rosemary's Baby.
Stanko will also lead his quartet in performing his own award-winning music, inspired by the free jazz of Ornette Coleman and by his decade-long collaboration with Komeda. For Stanko, as for other artists who lived in Communist Poland, jazz represented "freedom, Western culture, a different way of life." It was performed clandestinely in cellars and at dance parties in cities like Lodz, where students like Roman Polanski and Jerzy Skolimowski turned the now-legendary film school into a hotbed of artistic experimentation and political dissent. As a prelude to this special concert, two of Komeda's best scores—for Polanski's Knife in the Water and Skolimowski's Le Départ—can be heard in the theaters as part of the film exhibition Jazz Score. Download the Jazz Score brochure in PDF format
Organized by Joshua Siegel, Assistant Curator, Department of Film.
Jazz Score is made possible by The Friends of Education of The Museum of Modern Art and by the Nicholas Martini Foundation. Additional support provided by the Polish Cultural Institute, New York, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.
Martial Solal in Concert
Solal, who was born in Algeria in 1927 and settled in Paris in 1950, got his start performing with Django Reinhardt and the American expatriates Sidney Bechet and Don Byas in the 1950s. Soon after, he began composing film scores for such master directors as Jean-Pierre Melville, Marcel Carné, Jean Cocteau, Orson Welles, and Godard. As Nate Chinen of The New York Times put it, "Martial Solal has few peers among jazz pianists. Strictly speaking, probably none. He's a probing modernist with a mercurial touch...and a virtuoso technician often cited as the heir to Art Tatum." Solal is also represented in the Jazz Score film retrospective with two of his finest scores: for Breathless and for Jean Becker's Échappement libre (1964). Download the Jazz Score brochure in PDF format
Anatomy of a Jazz Score: A Panel Discussion
As one of the concluding events in the Jazz Score exhibition, this panel of celebrated composers, artists, and scholars explores the process of writing jazz music for the cinema. Participants include the Academy Award-winning composers Johnny Mandel (I Want to Live!, The Sandpipers, M*A*S*H, and Being There) and David Shire (The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, All the President's Men, The Conversation, and Zodiac); the artist Stan Douglas, whose two-channel video installation Hors-champs (1992) examines the interplay and tension between free-jazz improvisation, film editing, and the construction of narrative; and moderator Gary Giddins, one of the leading jazz and film critics in America, who in 1998 received the National Book Critics Circle Award for his landmark work Visions of Jazz.
Related Film Screenings
1965. USA. Arthur Penn. 93 min.
1961. France. Maurice Pialat. 17 min.
Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows)
1958. France. Louis Malle. 86 min.
Begone Dull Care
1949. Canada. Norman McLaren, Evelyn Lambart. 8 min.
1961. USA. Martin Ritt. 98 min.
Anatomy of a Murder
1959. USA. Otto Preminger. 160 min.
1950s/1980. New Zealand. Len Lye. 2 min.
Odds Against Tomorrow
1959. USA. Robert Wise. 96 min.
I Want to Live!
1958. USA. Robert Wise. 120 min.
Onna ga kaidan wo agaru toki (A Woman Ascends the Stairs)
1960. Japan. Mikio Naruse. 111 min.
A Streetcar Named Desire
1951. USA. Elia Kazan. 122 min.
1963. Great Britain. Joseph Losey. 112 min.
Kurutta kajitsu (Crazed Fruit)
1956. Japan. Kô Nakahira. 86 min.
The Three Little Bops
1957. USA. Friz Freleng. 8 min.
The Man with the Golden Arm
1955. USA. Otto Preminger. 119 min.
Les Liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons 1960)
1959. France. Roger Vadim. 105 min.
1996. USA. Robert Fenz. 28 min.
Pull My Daisy
1959. USA. Robert Frank, Alfred Leslie. 30 min.
OK End Here
1963. USA. Robert Frank. 32 min.
Adventures of an *
1957. USA. John and Faith Hubley. 10 min.
1962. Denmark/South Africa. Henning Carlsen. 89 min.
The Cool World
1964. USA. Shirley Clarke. 105 min.
1958. USA. Shirley Clarke. 7 min.
1961. USA. Shirley Clarke. 110 min.
Sweet Love, Bitter
1967. USA. Herbert Danska. 92 min.
How to Draw a Bunny
2002. USA. John W. Walter. 90 min.
Le Gros et le maigre (The Fat and the Lean)
1961. France. Roman Polanski. 15 min.
Nóz w wodzie (Knife in the Water)
1962. Poland. Roman Polanski. 94 min.
1965. poland. Miroslaw Kijowicz. 7 min.
1967. Belgium. Jerzy Skolimowski. 97 min.
1966. USA. George Lucas, Paul Holding. 3 min.
1966. United Kingdom/Italy/USA. Michelangelo Antonioni. 111 min.
Sweet Smell of Success
1957. USA. Alexander Mackendrick. 96 min.
Touch of Evil
1958. USA. Orson Welles. 112 min.
1977. USA. Clint Eastwood. 109 min.
1968. USA. Peter Yates. 114 min.
The Criminal (The Concrete Jungle)
1960. Great Britain. Directed by Joseph Losey. 97 min.
1966. Great Britain. Lewis Gilbert. 114 min.
"A Marriage Made in Heaven": Animated Jazz Shorts from The Hubley Studio, Featuring the Music of Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, and Other Jazz Giants
A special evening devoted to the Academy Award–winning animation of John and Faith Hubley, and their wonderfully imaginative and innovative collaborations with jazz composers and musicians. Introduced by filmmaker Emily Hubley (John and Faith's daughter) and Ed Berger, Associate Director, Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University, and author of Benny Carter, A Life in American Music, the program features the world premieres of MoMA's newly preserved Adventures of an * (1957; music by Benny Carter, vibraphone solos by Lionel Hampton) and The Tender Game (1958; performances by Ella Fitzgerald and the Oscar Peterson Trio). "There's something about jazz's bending of time within a rigid format that also applies to animation," Faith Hubley once observed. "That's why they work so well together. It's a marriage made in heaven."
1963. USA. Carmen D'Avino. 6 min.
A Bucket of Blood
1959. USA. Roger Corman. 66 min.
1964. USA. Sidney Lumet. 115 min.
In Cold Blood
1967. USA. Richard Brooks. 134 min.
The Wild One
1953. USA. László Benedek. 79 min.
1971. USA. Don Medford. 106 min.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
1974. USA. Joseph Sargent. 104 min.
À Bout de souffle (Breathless)
1959. France. Jean-Luc Godard. 89 min.
1964. France. Jean Becker. 105 min.
Sait-on jamais... (No Sun in Venice)
1957. France. Roger Vadim. 97 min.
1998. USA. John Canemaker. 7 min.
1973. USA. Woody Allen. 103 min.
Les Valseuses (Going Places)
1974. France. Bertrand Blier. 117 min.
The French Connection
1971. USA. William Friedkin. 104 min.
1976. USA. Martin Scorsese. 113 min.
1963. Denmark. Jørgen Leth, Ole John. 12 min.
1959. USA. John Cassavetes. 87 min.
Too Late Blues
1961. USA. John Cassavetes. 103 min.
Ultimo tango a Parigi (Last Tango in Paris)
1972. Italy/France. Bernardo Bertolucci. 129 min.
Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus)
1959. France/Italy/Brazil. Marcel Camus. 106 min.
Appunti per un'Orestiade africana (Notes on an African Orestes)
1970. Italy. Pier Paolo Pasolini. 73 min.
On Fighting Witches
1965. Sweden/USA. Robert Shaye. 18 min.
1965. Great Britain. Roman Polanski. 105 min.
On Animal Locomotion
1994. The Netherlands. Johann van der Keuken. 14 min.
1970. USA. William Clayton. 90 min.
1962. The Netherlands. Bert Haanstra. 10 min.
Tune in Tomorrow...
1990. USA. Jon Amiel. 107 min.
A Man Called Adam
1966. USA. Leo Penn. 99 min.
Blues for Trumpet and Koto
1962. Japan. Geoffrey Selden. 50 min.
Staccato, "The Naked Truth"
1959. USA. Joseph Pevney. 24 min.
Peter Gunn, "The Comic"
1959. USA. Blake Edwards. 24 min.
Plamuz (Music Art)
1973. Poland. Zbigniew Rybczynski. 10 min.
1977. USA. Larry Clark. 104 min.
1977. France. Alain Corneau. 117 min.
2003. USA. Wayne Kramer. 102 min.
George Dumpson's Place
1965. USA. Ed Emshwiller. 8 min.
She's Gotta Have It
1986. USA. Spike Lee. 88 min.
1967. Canada. Pierre Hébert. 14 min.
1991. Canada/Great Britain/Japan. David Cronenberg. 115 min.
1974. USA. Adam Beckett. 6 min.
Les Baisers de secours (Emergency Kisses)
1989. France. Philippe Garrel. 90 min.
Kanzo sensei (Dr. Akagi)
1998. Japan/France. Shohei Imamura. 129 min.
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
2006. USA. Spike Lee. 225 min.