The Jazz Baroness (DVD-9) - 2012
Video: PAL, MPEG-2 at 5 000 Kbps, 720 x 576 (1.778) at 25.000 fps | Audio: AC-3 2 channels at 224 Kbps, 48.0 KHz
Genre: Jazz | Label: 3DD | Copy: Untouched | Release Date: 30 April 2012 | Runtime: 82 min. | 6,89 GB
The Jazz Baroness tells the moving story of Pannonica Rothschild (‘Nica’ for short) and her great love for the jazz pianist-composer Thelonious Monk. Directed by Nica’s great-niece, Hannah Rothschild, the documentary features the voice of Oscar winner Helen Mirren who reads Nica’s words. Shown as part of the BBC’s Storyville season, on HBO and at international film festivals, The Jazz Baroness will be released on DVD by 3DD Productions on 30th April 2012.
Growing up, Hannah Rothschild never met her great aunt but she heard the rumours: Nica was the family’s black sheep; she flew Lancaster bombers in the war; that junkie Charlie Parker died in her apartment; she chose not to live with her five children; she shared a house with jazz musicians and 306 cats; twenty jazz standards were written and dedicated to her; she raced Miles Davis down Fifth Avenue.
There was one thing everyone agreed upon; she dedicated the last twenty-eight years of her life to one man, the high priest of bebop, the pianist Thelonious Monk. She laid her love, her inheritance and her freedom before his feet like a cloth of devotion.
Hannah Rothschild finally met Nica in 1984. They became friends but when Nica died a few years later, Rothschild, a filmmaker, knew there was far more to uncover about this mysterious and glamorous relation.
What, she wanted to know, had taken Nica from the grandest English drawing rooms to the shabbiest clubs? Why did this young woman who danced with Royalty, hung out with Winston Churchill and Einstein, eat off gold plates prefer the company of itinerant musicians? What was it about the son of a poor country farmer that captured Nica’s heart and her imagination?
Using private family papers, rare film archives, rarely seen performances and new interviews, the documentary recreates Nica’s story. Starting with a rarefied childhood in a stately home, Tring Park, the film follows her journey from Paris, to a narrow escape from the Nazis, via the battlefields of Africa, to Norway, Mexico, to a State prison in Delaware and finally to an unimposing house in New Jersey.
Nica’s story is recreated by her family and friends including Sonny Rollins, The Duchess of Devonshire, Quincy Jones, Clint Eastwood, Chico Hamilton, Roy Haynes, TS Monk junior, Val Wilmer and Lord Rothschild.
The film also features footage of the groundbreaking Thelonious Monk Quartet playing such classics as 'Straight No Chaser', 'The Bolivar Blues' and a 1965 BBC appearance, by which point Monk, with Nica’s help, had finally begun to get the recognition, if not the financial rewards he had worked for.
Researched over a twenty-year period, The Jazz Baroness profiles an extraordinary woman who devoted herself to the cause of New York’s jazz elite who were not only struggling artistically, but also battling a racist culture.
Nica sheltered them when they were broke, bailed them out of jail and helped them cope with their drug habits. In appreciation, Monk and many others wrote dozens of songs for and about her.
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