Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sonny Simmons on film

Below is the trailer for Just a Guy Who Knows, a new documentary project codirected by my friend Dan Scofield. The film is an impressionistic portrait of Sonny Simmons, surely one of the greatest living saxophonists.

Dan is also an excellent horn player - you can hear him in the band Shot x Shot - and he's been taking some lessons from Mr. Simmons. After they spent a bit of time together, Dan proposed this documentary project, and then he and his collaborator Mike Ercolini shot a bunch of interview and performance footage of Simmons over two days. I'm absolutely blown away by what they were able to come up with in such a short time - it's poetic and abstract, but it captures its subject with intense clarity. The footage of Simmons playing (solo sax on a Brooklyn rooftop, with the Manhattan skyline in the background) is simply priceless, as are the various anecdotes he shares re: artistic and personal struggle. If you like what you see here, you can view the full film as it currently stands, in a 20-something-minute version, by inquiring here. Dan and Mike are currently drumming up funds to make this into a feature-length doc, something I personally would be thrilled to check out. Definitely consider donating if you have the means.

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