January 22, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

A Great Day in Harlem

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
Limited Release Date
02/24/95
director
Jean Bach
author
Jean Bach
genre
Musical, Documentary
We gave it an A-

Duke Ellington made the trick an art: Take a riff from one work, embellish it a bit, and you’ve got a whole new piece. Jazz documentarian Jean Bach has taken a piece of business that didn’t fit in her Oscar-nominated 1995 film A Great Day in Harlem — the late bebop innovator Dizzy Gillespie telling the tale of his being fired from Cab Calloway’s orchestra — and expanded it with interviews of other players in the drama in her 1997 short film, The Spitball Story. The yarn, which redefines the term ”cutting contest,” makes its debut (after showings at a few festivals) on a new cassette edition of Great Day, and it’s a coda as witty as one of Dizzy’s own.A-

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