Tonight and tomorrow night one of the most important films of the last 30 years will be presented in a new digitally restored format at the Zeitgeist Community Theater. The showings are at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $7.00 but are free with a purchase of the DVD.
This groundbreaking work by Stevenson Palfi features three generations of piano players, Allen Toussaint, Professor Longhair (pictured above) and Tuts Washington, and is considered to be one of the best documentaries every made about New Orleans music.
The conceit behind the film is devastatingly simple. Toussaint was influenced by Longhair, who in turn was influenced by Washington. When PBS aired it in June of 1984, the film was described as “…the most soulful celebration of New Orleans piano-playing ever made.”
Each of the artists is shown in several contexts—in front of their audience, in an intimate interview setting and all together. Sadly Professor Longhair died before the concert that was to be the finale of the film occurred. Viewers are treated instead to incredible footage of Longhair’s massive jazz funeral.
The two-year, $40,000 effort to digitally restore the film was recently completed by Blaine Dunlap, the director of The Southeast Media Preservation Lab.