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Toronto Jazz

Year: 1964
Format: 16mm Black & White
Runtime: 27 min
Director: Don Owen
Producer: Roman Kroitor
Cinematographer: Guy Borremans
Editor: Don Owen, Guy Coté
Sound: Roger Hart, Ron Alexander
Cast: Don Francks, Don Thompson, Alf Jones, Michael Snow
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada

The lively Toronto Jazz (inspired by Owen’s determination to show his Québécois colleagues that Toronto was more than a hopelessly dull backwater), documents the jazz scene in Toronto in the early sixties. Actor and musician Don Francks– part promoter, part hipster, part used-car salesman – serves as Owen’s stand-in/guide. Once again valorizing art as play while paradoxically defending it as work, the film – one of Owen’s first portraits of artists – includes vintage footage of legendary performers like Lenny Breau and Michael Snow.

Music by The Lenny Breau Trio, The Don Thompson Quintet, The Alf Jones Quartet.

By: Steve Gravestock