I had a busy 2 months showing In Good Time, The Piano Jazz of Marian McPartland. After going out to the Sedona Film Festival in February the next screening was on March 13 at Maysles Cinema, NYC and was sponsored by the National Jazz Museum of Harlem. What a thrill it was for me to show at the Maysles Cinema. The Maysles Brothers were ground breaking documentary filmmakers whose films along with those by D.A. Pennebaker and Ricky Leacock, were all influential in my becoming a filmmaker. The audience was quite enthusiastic many knew Marian and many were musicians and jazz buffs.
The following weekend, March 17 & 18, Judy and I traveled to Montpelier, VT for the Green Mountain Film Festival. It was odd to be in northern Vermont in the middle of March and instead of worrying about a snow storm while driving, it was well into the 70s. We had 2 screenings and met fellow filmmakers like David Grubin and versitile actor Michael Murphy.
Next stop was the Garden State Film Festival in Asbury Park, NJ. It was a special weekend because In Good Time was awarded the Manny Berlingo Award for Best Feature Length Documentary Film at the Festival’s awards banquet. The next day I stopped by and visited Marian at her home in Port Washington, NY. She had turned 94 on March 20. You can see the photo above. Marian was quite pleased with the Best Documentary award as she is with all news about In Good Time.
I left Marian’s and drove to Amherst, MA for an informal lecture for Abraham Ravett’s filmmaking class at Hampshire College. That evening I presented In Good Time to a sold out screening at Amherst Cinema. An ensemble of jazz music students from UMASS and USM opened the evening with a lively set. Marian would be pleased at that as education and passing on the tradition of jazz is very important to her as can be seen in the film. Local jazz DJ Tom Raney moderated the Q&A.
Carol Johnson, executive director of Amherst Cinema, wrote about this screening, “In Good Time will in my judgment enter the realm of one of the hands-down best jazz documentaries, ever. Your editing was just so masterful — you told Marian’s story in an intimate way and yet best of all, you let the music through and gave it space.The program was a resounding success! There was just a special feeling in the theater that night — one of those evenings that makes all we do worthwhile.”
Two reviews came in after these screenings. One from Leonard Maltin. Leonard liked In Good Time and is also a big fan of Marian’s. Here’s his link.
Another review of In Good Time was written by Steve Voce in Jazz Journal, a magazine in the UK, “There is no doubt in my mind that Miss McPartland is the cleverest, most intelligent and talented woman to have graced our music. It seems ungallant to say that she is now a very old lady (go on then, 93) and I find it incredible that she can still play such beautiful piano . . . the glowing personality and packed information make this DVD more appealing than most and it comes near to ranking with the best biographical DVD that I ever saw.”
And finally last Saturday, May 12, Judy and I made the trek to Washington D.C. for a screening at the Kennedy Center in conjunction with the Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Festival. Helen Sung, a jazz pianist and Piano Jazz guest, sat in on the Q&A to offer her insights on the performing with Marian. Helen praised the film which I appreciated coming from such a good musician like her. Several audience members said more people should see this film. Well, believe me I am trying. It is because of audience members like you who have to come to a screening and have bought the DVD that are helping me to reach out to jazz and film fans everywhere. I thank you for your support and kind comments. Please do spread the word about In Good Time.
All of these screenings were done while I was teaching as an adjunct instructor at SMCC in South Portland, ME. Also while I was finishing up an animation residency at Epping (NH) Elementary School. I worked with all 400 students in making some type of animated movie. Their gala film premiere took place in early April to a full house of kids, parents, and townspeople. But more on my work as a teaching artist in another news posting.
Next screening of In Good Time is June 30, 8PM, at The Little Theater, Rochester, NY. This is during the Rochester Jazz Festival and is sponsored by PBS affiliate station WXXI-TV. Please spread the word to all your upstate New York friends. I’ll be there and DVDs will be available.
I hope to see you at a screening. If you can’t make it to a screening click here to order a DVD online from this site.