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Jazz

The Randy Brecker Quintet will headline the 2021 OceanFirst Foundation Jazz@thePoint Festival that will take place in Somers Point from Sept. …

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Jazz giants (Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Coleman Hawkins) gathered for a group portrait in 1958. Jean Bach’s Oscar-nominated film describes what went on behind the effort to rustle up the musicians, some of whom were not reliable and some of whom did not like each other. “It was like a family reunion,” one of them remembers in the film, which can be viewed for free on YouTube and which now feels like an almost unimaginable gathering of legendary talents.

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It’s impossible to encapsulate a life in a couple of hours but the genius of this Liz Garbus biodoc about Nina Simone is that it doesn’t pretend to. The jazz/blues/pop singer was an incredibly complicated person, which the film reveals with archival interviews, intimate performance footage and chats with those who knew her, including her daughter. It plays out like snapshots of a rich but difficult life and, because Garbus is modest about her intentions, those snapshots add up to a fascinating portrait.

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