The documentary feature Sunny’s time now explores the life and work of the avant-garde drummer Sunny Murray, one of the most influential figures of the Free Jazz revolution. Through a series of interviews with key time witnesses as well as historic and contemporary concert footage, it reassesses the relationship between the libertarian music movement and the political events of the 1960s whose social claims it so intimately reflected. It also recounts how the most radical forms of musical expression were excluded from all major production and distribution networks as the libertarian ideal went out of fashion.
Beyond its historical approach, the film follows Sunny Murray on current gigs, showing his daily struggle to perpetuate a musical genre which is still widely ignored by the general public. In doing so, Sunny’s time now also dwells on the near-clandestine community of aficionados who continue to worship the gods of their musical coming of age and have thus permitted free improvisational music to live on.
Special Features - DVD 2:
Alger ’69 (16’)
This previously unreleased agitprop poem by the French filmmaker Théo Robichet shows a free jazz combo led by Archie Shepp performing in the streets of Algiers in the run-up to the first Panafrican Festival. The band, comprising Sunny Murray, Alan Silva, Clifford Thornton and Grachan Moncur III, is seen embarking on a delirious impro session in front of a slightly puzzled audience.
An interview with Sunny Murray (80’, English)
In this extensive talk with music writer Dan Warburton, Sunny Murray reminisces his upbringing on a farm in Idabel/Oklahoma, the early avant-garde days in New York, his love story with Paris, and what it’s like to be “Jesus coming home to Philly”.
An interview with Daniel Caux (37’, French, English s.t.)
The late French musicologist Daniel Caux recounts how he first rubbed shoulders with the US jazzmen during their self-inflicted exile in Paris at the end of the 1960s. Caux, who was the artistic director of the Shandar label, is best known for publishing a series of legendary recordings by the likes of Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, Steve Reich and Lamonte Young.
An interview with Robert Wyatt (39’, English)
Robert Wyatt, the drummer and singer of the original Soft Machine line-up, evokes the intricate relations between the artistic and the political avant-garde and explains how free jazz radicals like Sunny Murray influenced his own musical development.