Paul Robeson - the first African American actor to achieve international star status – made his screen debut in this audacious, all-black cast melodrama, directed and produced by Oscar Micheaux – the silent era’s most successful black filmmaker.
Micheaux brings a showman’s flair to the sensational story of a demonic ex-con, posing as a minister in order to swindle the townspeople of their money. Micheaux’s leading man, Robeson, shows off his considerable range, playing dual roles as the mild-mannered Sylvester and his charismatic identical twin brother Isaiah.
We are thrilled to present tonight’s Opening Night feature with American jazz musician Wycliffe Gordon’s big-band orchestra composition… a score that ‘captures the ethos of the movie brilliantly, delving deep into his Georgia upbringing and infusing the score with hymns, work songs, and the timbres of early-to-modern jazz.’ (All About Jazz)
Dir. Oscar Micheaux | USA | 1925 | N/C PG | 1h 42m | English intertitles
With: Paul Robeson, Mercedes Gilbert, Julia Theresa Russell
Music Score by Wycliffe Gordon
Screening material courtesy of Brumfield and Associates
Wycliffe Gordon’s score for Body and Soul was composed in 2000 and premiered at the 38th Annual New York Film Festival on 24 September, 2000. The performance for this HippFest streaming event was recorded live at the Lucas Theatre in Savannah, Georgia on 11 February, 2005 by an 18-piece jazz orchestra conducted by Wycliffe Gordon and featuring some of the best jazz musicians working today.
Musicians: Wycliffe Gordon composer, conductor, trombone and vocals: Wess Anderson Alto sax; Ted Nash Alto sax, clarinet, flute; Victor Goines tenor sax, soprano sax, clarinet; Walter Blanding tenor sax; Joe Temperley baritone sax; Ron Westray, Vincent Gardner and Andre Hayward trombone; Bob Stewart tuba; Chris Jaudes, Ryan Kisor, Marcus Printup and Mike Rodriguez trumpet; Cyrus Chestnut and Aaron Diehl piano; Reginald Veal bass, vocals; Herlin Riley drums, vocals; Sachal Vasandani solo vocals.
Screening, programme notes, introduction, and Q&A supported by the British Association for American Studies / United States Embassy
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