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Australia, 1998 (MIFF 1998, Australian Showcase)

Director: David Perry

Painter/photographer/filmmaker David Perry immersed himself in Sydney's vibrant jazz scene and came out drenched in musical flavour and improvisation. Interviews with prominent Sydney jazz players including Bernie McGann, Mike Nock and Tony Gorman, as well as jazz authority John Clare, draw together what are often mistaken as disparate parts of an unorganised whole.

With live sets recorded at the Strawberry Hills Hotel, Perry gives definition to a scene which is fluid and flexible. The exploration of improvisational music and musicians is counterpointed with Perry's own personal reflections about improvisation in jazz, and its connections with the creative practise of painting, drawing and filmmaking.

DrJazz takes on a sense of urgency given the closing last year of the Strawberry Hills Hotel - the definitive jazz venue which abandoned music for poker machines. The closure lends bitter historical importance to the final performances there by the McGann Trio and Clarion Fracture Zone. More broadly, it signifies the life of jazz beyond, and often in spite of, whatever social forces fall in its path. Its endurance makes Dr Jazz an important document of a few key steps in that path.

"Jazz is like communism without the purges. It's the kind of music that leaves you open." - David Perry

David Perry was born in 1933 and has been making personal and experimental film and video works since the 1950s. Throughout the 60s he worked as a cinematography and editor before commencing to teach film courses. Perry's credits include The Refracting Glasses and Some Techniques in the Films of Paul Winkler, both of which he wrote, directed and edited.

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