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2021 Biamp PDX Jazz Festival & Hollywood Theatre present: UNIVERSE
February 18 - February 20$10
Thurs Feb 18 2021 (+ watchable for 72 hrs)
U N I V E R S E
Directed by Nick Capezzera and Sam Osborn
+ Exclusive Q&A with the Directors by Shannon J. Effinger (NY Times, Pitchfork, NPR Music)
8:00 PM PST
$10 / Members $7 / 3 Film Special Combo also available
“Universe stands as an admiring, intimate portrait — a touching elegy etched in a valedictory frame.”
The Hollywood Reporter
In 1966 a landmark suite of orchestral jazz entitled “The Universe Compositions” was written for Miles Davis by Wayne Shorter and set to be recorded by The Miles Davis Quintet. That moment would never happen. The quintet broke up and the compositions were lost for 50 years…until they were finally recovered by Miles’ only protégé, Wallace Roney – the one man Miles would trust to fulfill his wish. As Wallace prepares to record and debut “Universe,” he must find a way to uphold his mentor’s legacy. The work would take on an added poignancy when Wallace unexpectedly passes in March 2020 before seeing the music’s release out in the world.
In December 2015, the Directors approached Wallace Roney with the idea of documenting the recording and performance of the full suite of “The Universe Compositions”. The two filmmakers had previously collaborated on two seasons of a digital documentary series for Jazz at Lincoln Center entitled “Recollect.” Mr. Roney agreed to document the process and production began in February 2016.
Two months later, Roney brought a large group of musicians to Water Music Recorders in New Jersey for a week-long studio session to record the music including Patrice Rushen piano, Buster Williams bass, Lenny White drums, Emilio Modeste sax. The following April, Roney was able to debut the full suite of music at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center as the opening night performance of the Tribute to Wayne Shorter.
Filming continued with Roney until the Summer of 2019, with production trips to Roney’s childhood homes in Philadelphia and Washington D.C., and to Los Angeles to film an interview with the music’s composer, Wayne Shorter. The filmmakers ultimately followed Roney for four years, editing the film on and off as they were able to. The film was tentatively completed in early 2020, only a month before Mr. Roney passed away due to complications with covid-19. R.I.P Wallace Roney
About the directors:
Nick Capezzera is a filmmaker working out of New York City. He’s also a Korean adoptee and co-founder of Player Piano Productions. His work has appeared in the New York Times, CNN, and PBS to name a few. His first documentary, Circle of Poison, an environmental film which he co-produced and shot, premiered at DOC NYC and aired on Al Jazeera. Nick also produced a 7- part interactive series for The New York Times called, “Life on Mars,” which chronicled six scientists on a mission to simulate life on the red planet. Currently, he’s working on a biographical film about Korean adoption, identity, and diaspora. As well as a feature documentary about Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest working to build a bridge between the Catholic church and the LGBTQ community.
Sam Osborn is a Mexican-American filmmaker who has directed films for Topic Studios, Vice News, Great Big Story, Jazz at Lincoln Center, ITVS and more. He recently completed Mariachi Oro, a short film for Pop-Up Magazine about varsity mariachi teams in South Texas. Language Keepers, his hybrid documentary project meant to help sustain the endangered Athabaskan language of Gwich’in, premiered at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and was supported by the Alaska Humanities Fund and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For Topic Studios, he directed the four-part series Night Shift and Eating, a series of 10 short documentaries.