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Bebop Spoken There

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Thursday 6: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Alan Plater's Mysterioso

I have an affinity with Alan Plater - we were born within streets of each other although he had departed for more southerly climes before I was conceived. Nevertheless, I identify with him, not just because we may, and I stress the word may, have shared midwives but because we most definitely shared a love of jazz.
That love comes through in his writing - "The Beiderbecke Affair" and the ditto "Tapes", "Doggin' Around", "Blonde Bombshells of 1943" and "Mysterioso."
I've just watched this latter work, published as a novel in 1987 and dramatised for tv in 1991, on DVD.
Although far from being as enigmatic as the Thelonious Monk inspired title would suggest, it is, nevertheless, an engaging tale of a young girl's search for her father - who turns out to be a Ronnie Scott caricuture - and in the process discovers herself.
There are few twists and turns and no seemingly insurmountable brick walls in Rachel's quest to find if her heart belongs to daddy. Nor are there any out and out baddies - only a boring suburban architect and some once anti-semetic grandparents.
However, far from being bland, it is a tale that kept me glued to the screen, helped along by the off-screen tenor playing of Stan Sultzman.
Thoroughly enjoyable.
As a matter of further interest. The latest jazz inspired work by Alan Plater is "Looking For Buddy". Newcastle's Live Theatre are presenting it from May 7 - June 13.
Lance.

1 comment :

Phil Portus said...

Misterioso by Alan Plater
Misterioso (Alan Plater’s TV films-1991) one of the lesser known of the handful of “jazz films” out there. It’s not in the same big movie class as Round Midnight and Bird or even Pete Kelly's Blues (1955), Lady Sings the Blues (1972), Mo' Better Blues (1990) ( Spike Lee's movie), "Paris Blues," which was directed in 1961 by Paul Newman's frequent collaborator Martin Ritt and has a score by Duke Ellington (as well as some wonderful moments with Louis Armstrong). Misterioso, by Alan Plater is a slightly dated TV film but its charm is a simple love child daughter seeks long lost father who happens not only to be a jazz musician but a Ronnie Scott style character with his deadpan humour. Jazz musicians will sympathise with characters in Misterioso playing in empty cellar bars and ego centric band leaders. The jazz used in Misterioso, which includes Stan Sultzman, is part of the film not just as a background soundtrack. Another of Alan Plater’s TV films, Doggin' Around (1994) is also worth a viewing.
Phil Portus

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