Ever since, Spanish filmmaker Fernando Trueba was introduced to Latin jazz in the 1980s, he became a devoted fan of the music.
After asking jazz artists to score some of his films, Trueba decided to make the documentary “Calle 54,” in which he assembled some of his favorite Latin jazz artists for a series of interviews and performances at the Sony Music recording studios in New York City.
The artists include two pioneering Latin jazz stars, percussionist Tito Puente and horn player Paquito D’Rivera, as well as father-and-son piano duo Bebo Valdes and Chucho Valdes, Gato Barbieri and his tenor sax, the New York-based ensemble Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band, and veteran pianists Chico O’Farrill and Eliane Elias.
Clearly a labor of love, “Calle 54” is essentially a performance film, with scenes recording music and individual artists talking about their social backgrounds and their work.
Running Time: 106 Minutes
There’s great additional footage in the DVD about the history of the genre, expanded interviews with the artists, commentary by jazz historian Nat Chediak, discographies and extended bios of the musicians.