The World According to Keitho

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At the Movies: Whiplash

Posted by keithosaunders on October 30, 2015

It’s time for At the Movies!  Now here’s your host, that connoisseur of the cinema, your favorite arbiter of taste…KEITHO.

5,6, ladies, I finally saw Whiplash and the verdict is in: It’s an instant classic. Let’s start with the countoff. When I’m sight-reading a complicated uptempo 7/4 chart there’s nothing that sets me more at ease than a random two beat countoff. Smooth.

The band director, Fletcher, must have an internal metronome akin to a Swiss watch as he is able to discern the slightest variation in tempo. Never mind that the tune is grooving like a Def Leopard concert the day after Mardi Gras. No, in the jazz world that Whiplash posits, tempo is the be all and end all. You speed up two ticks and there’s just the remedy – a chair hurled directly at your head will improve your focus.

Midway through the movie we get to see Fletcher at one of his own gigs. (he’s a pianist)  With all of his passion and Full Metal Jacket style fire and brimstone he must be playing something burning like a DOUBLE TIME SWING Giant Steps, or at least an 11/4 version of Stella by Starlight, right?  Nope. It’s a bossa nova!  A watered down one at that. It must be one of his originals.

I shouldn’t make fun. Watered-down bossa and all, Fletcher has snared himself a gig at Lincoln Center and he’s hired our protagonist hero, drummer Miles. But wait! He only hired him so to exact revenge and he has sent him onstage without a chart! The only thing is…it’s Fletcher’s gig. Who is he spiting?! FLETCHER IS THE LEADER, NOT DRUMMER MILES. Miles is going to get other gigs regardless of whether or not he makes the hits on some non-grooving poor man’s Buddy Rich chart. Hell, he’s playing at Fat Cat next week with better musicians.

Rating: 5 Stars

And that does it for At the Movies w Keitho. Remember to tip your waiter and go METS.

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