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‘It must Schwing! The Blue Note Story’ Review: A tale of love, loyalty, and the pursuit of Jazz

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Does the fate of Black man’s music career still lie in the hands of the Jewish? While dozens augment the anti-Semitic stereotype of Jews controlling the music industry amid lacking respect for its culture, a new documentary debunks the exploitative and capitalistic rhetoric.

‘It must Schwing! The Blue Note’ story unpacks the journey of two German friends with one common goal –– introduce the world to the sound of Black Jazz. The film was directed by Eric Friedler and executive produced by Wim Wenders.

Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff fled from Berlin before the Nazi reign and emigrated to New York. They founded the legendary Blue Note Records label in 1939, which later became one of the most respected recording company’s for contemporary jazz in the country, and they had one hell of a roster to back up the notoriety.

The documentary captured the stories of some of the most influential Jazz musicians and their ties to Blue Note, which felt more like a family reunion. From Herbie Handcock to Quincy Jones to George Benson, the cameos played a key role in reviving the glory days –– well, kind of.

Friedler and Wenders narrated the story with subtle, Jazz cadences over classic, white and black animation resemblant of a French cartoon. The approach presented a buoyant element while exploring the dark history of discrimination, race relations, and inhumanity.

Lion and Wolff were no stranger to racism which caused them both to sympathize with the struggles of the Black musicians signed to their label. They didn’t see color –– all that mattered was the music and how alive it made them feel. Their love for Jazz guided them to take risks on a genre not yet explored.

Wolff frequently took blows to the head every time he ventured into the streets of Harlem to purchase the vibrant notes of Black, Jazz artists. He even chose his love for the genre over his marriage with his first wife, which showed the correlation between the beauty and suffering of Jazz.

His dedication to the art was both disturbing and inspiring. Now, Lion, on the other hand, brought in the same passion but quietly through his camera lens –– photographing candids of the artists is what made the label stand out.

Lion was like a silent assassin –– he didn’t say much but they knew he liked the music by his uncontrollable foot taps, even if he was offbeat the artists noted. His photographs became the artwork for their artist’s iconic album covers. The art was a reflection of the time. Before the spoiled era of Adobe software, there was Reid Miles, who was Blue Note’s graphic designer.

Miles progressive design skills along Lions standout still frames amplified the label’s message. Blue Note was ahead of its time, but, yet still light years behind in terms of revenue. While Lions and Wolff were never in it for the money, their pursuit to give their Black artists a voice wasn’t paying their bills.

Wolff eventually sold Blue Note to Liberty Records in 1965, which was the first time they saw any kind of real income, although it still wasn’t much to brag about.

So what happened to the artists post-acquisition? It left a bit of a cliff hanger for the audience as the documentary concluded. I can only assume there is more to the story, which I give it four stars.

It is worth seeing? Definitely, but be prepared to leave the theater wishing they dug deeper into Blue Note’s overall biography.

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Woody Allen self-releases ‘A Rainy Day in New York’ Trailer starring Selena Gomez and Timothée Chalamet

The first trailer for “A Rainy Day In New York” has finally be released, by Woody Allen himself. The film, which stars Selena Gomez, Timothée Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Jude Law and Diego Luna, looks to center around “two young people who arrive in New York for a weekend where they are met with bad weather and a series of adventures.”

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Filmmakers protest anti-abortion laws at Cannes Film festival

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Arthur Mola/Invision/AP

Cannes Film festival has kicked off with an interesting start! On Saturday, moments before the premiere of a controversial Argentine documentary, centering abortion rights, dozens of women used the red carpet as a meeting place to protest against the issue.

The group of women reportedly included filmmakers who wore green ahead of the premiere of Argentine director Juan Solanas’ “Let It Be Law.”

Argentina’s Senate rejected a bill to legalize abortion last year. A modified version of the bill will be presented to Congress on May 28, per AP.

On Tuesday, the Alabama Senate passed a bill that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state, including those involving pregnancies from rape or incest.

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Octavia Spencer discusses role in ‘Ma’ at film’s L.A. Premiere

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Octavia Spencer hit the red carpet at the premiere of her new horror movie “Ma” on Thursday night (May 16) at the Regal LA Live in downtown Los Angeles.

“I am really excited! It’s a labor of love,” she said during a brief interview where she discussed her role as Sue Ann.

Spencer plays a loner who keeps to herself in her quiet Ohio town. She described the character as “very different” but still thrilled to have the opportunity to take on the character.

“I like not being contained but keeping her grounded in every way possible,” she continued. “We’ve all been teenagers at some point in our lives and I think that’s what’s so relatable about Sue Ann. We’ve all been on the outside looking in at some point, especially as kids.”

The Oscar-winning actress was joined at the event by her co-stars Allison Janney, Juliette Lewis, Diana Silvers, Corey Fogelmanis, McKaley Miller, Kyanna Simone Simpson, Gianni Paolo, Dante Brown, and Tanyell Waivers.

Director Tate Taylor made an appearance as well. Taylor previously worked with Spencer on the award-winning motion picture “The Help” in 2011.

“Ma” lands in theaters May 31.

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