Edward Bland died of cancer at his home in Smithfield, Va. on March 14 at 86. Bland was a musician, composer and arranger, according to the New York Times's obit, but he also made one film—The Cry of Jazz.
When the 34-minute film about jazz from a black American perspective was released in 1959, it triggered debate among leading intellectuals. In 1998, Bland said in an interview that "it was considered the work of madmen when it was originally released. Black racists. At best it was considered a personal statement. Bad music, bad thinking, bad acting, bad writing and bad photography. Unfair to jazz, because we made jazz a political statement."
Here's Edward Bland's The Cry of Jazz, in its entirety (ignore the Sun Ra stuff in the title):
JazzWax note: Just one day left (today) to support Stephanie Castillo's Kickstarter.com drive to fund a documentary on the late saxophonist Thomas Chapin. To view her video pitch and donate, go here.