You think being a film actor is a glamorous job? Think again. I have been shooting a film the past three days, and I am beat up. No, I mean literally! I have a scrape on the left side of my nose, a shiner on my right cheek, and my legs feel like I’ve run a marathon with no training. And on top of that I got slapped at least a dozen times. No - it isn’t an action film; not a karate movie. It’s a story about five jazz musicians based loosely on Monk, Trane, Miles, Mingus and Ornette. I am playing the Ornette character (use your imagination a little...). The writer/director, Douglas Chang, wrote this quirky, clever script based on the scene that took place in and around the Jazz Gallery in the 1960s. His father, who was the bartender there, got to know these jazz musicians - their music and their personal stories.
The script is broken up into five separate vignettes that intertwine slightly. The through line is the club and a few of the regulars, and of course the music! Although the part I am involved with is fourth in the script, we are shooting it first, and even though it seems to be going smoothly, it hasn’t been with out a few surprises. I’ll leave the details of the story (and reasons I have suffered a few minor injuries) for when you go see the film!
We continue shooting tomorrow, focusing on all the club scenes, and in particular playing and recording the music. I wrote three original compositions that are inspired by Ornette. My quartet, based on Ornette’s group form the early 60’s, features Marcus Printup on trumpet, Paul Sikivie on bass and Ulysses Owens on drums. I am assuming this shoot will be less injurious...
Other musicians playing lead roles in the film include Eric Reed and Stacy Dillard.