NPR logo Jazz Musicians In A Jazz Musical, Plus Eight Cellos Play Jazz

Jazz Musicians In A Jazz Musical, Plus Eight Cellos Play Jazz

Jason Palmer. Variance Films hide caption

toggle caption
Variance Films

Jason Palmer.

Variance Films

The lead actor in one of the most critically-acclaimed indie films of the year is: A jazz trumpeter. In real life Jason Palmer plays and teaches in Boston; if you have Advanced Jazz Internet Literacy, you may have seen his blog. Palmer plays — what else? — a jazz trumpeter in Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, a musical set in the present day and shot on 16-millimeter black-and-white film stock as a student project at Harvard. It's become one of the few indie films to percolate up to relatively wide public attention: It's been reviewed on and was profiled yesterday on All Things Considered. Quoth director Damien Chazelle: "The idea for me was to kind of use what I had around me. Use Boston, use musicians who lived in Boston — not actors playing musicians — but actual musicians and their actual day-to-day lives — use that as a kind of springboard for a full-fledged musical." We can get behind that. [All Things Considered: 'Guy And Madeline': A New Wave Spin On The Musical]

Cover of Meeting of the Spirits

Jazz cello is unusual enough, but an eight-cello ensemble playing "jazz milestones re-imagined for a big band of cellos"? Also in the NPR Music universe yesterday, our classical music producer Tom Huizenga — now a blogger too — wrote about cellist Matt Haimovitz's new album, Meeting of the Spirits. Haimovitz is the fellow as comfortable playing in nightclubs as symphony halls; he also leads a group called Uccello. For its new record, Uccello took on tunes by Mingus, Miles, Ornette, John Lewis, Strayhorn, and John McLaughlin, who also guests on the album. You can hear their take on the Gershwin standard "Liza" over at Deceptive Cadence, our new classical publication. Well worth reading the rest of the blog too. [Deceptive Cadence: Matt Haimovitz And His Wayward Cello]