This personal documentary about music critic Robert Palmer and his musical family, The Master Musicians of Jajouka, was a Critic’s Pick at New York Magazine, who called it “deeply compelling.” The documentary, which screened at New York’s Anthology Film Archives as well as at a broad range of film festivals in 2009 and 2010, features interviews with Anthony DeCurtis, Stephen Davis, Donovan, Bill Laswell, Yoko Ono, Genesis P. Orridge, and Randy Weston as well as a performance by The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar. Directed by Robert Palmer’s daughter, Augusta Palmer, The Hand of Fatima combines live action footage of the her 2007 visit to the village of Jajouka with animations and archival images that bring to life her father’s 1970s experiences in the Moroccan village of Jajouka, as well as his subsequent trips there with Ornette Coleman and others.
It was an honor and a pleasure to attend this year’s Jazz Journalists Association Awards on June 11th. The ceremony, held this year at City Winery, is a benefit for the JJA, an organization that works very hard to honor the musicians and writers who keep jazz alive. I was particularly impressed to hear about their new eyeJAZZ program, which hopes to put more visual technology in the hands of jazz writers, and thereby create better videos for all of us out there watching on YouTube and elsewhere. In keeping with this tech-savvy spirit, the 2011 JJA awards were not only live in new York, but were also streamed live on the internet and linked via webcast to satellite parties held in Berkeley, Boston, Chicago, Nashville, Portland, Seattle, Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.
The JJA gives Awards for players of nearly every instrument in the jazz repertoire as well as to the journalists who cover them. The full list of winners, including Joe Lovano, Sonny Rollins, Blue Note Records, Mosaic Records and Ambrose Akinmusire can be found here, but I was particularly pleased to see that, among the many musicians honored, the late great Billy Bang received the award for Jazz Violinist of the year. His award was eloquently accepted by Kahil El’Zabar, a frequent collaborator.