Jazz Documentaries at Vancity Theatre

A double bill sets the staging for the upcoming Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

The Vancouver International Jazz Festival officially kicks off Thursday (June 18), and steps into high gear Friday with six-time Grammy winner Buddy Guy at the Orpheum. As a prelude, Vancity Theatre is screening two documentaries back-to-back featuring music from some of the genre’s greats.First on the program, Vancouver film scholar Michael van den Bos presents Jazz Masters in the Movies, a curated compilation of jazz legends—Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Gene Krupa, and many more—playing themselves on the silver screen. The showcase allows van den Bos to discuss the initial onscreen portrayal of jazz musicians as racial stereotypes, a perception that slowly developed to a more dignified acknowledgement over time.The evening closes with Sonny Rollins: Beyond the Notes by British filmmaker Dick Fontaine. Rollins was one of the youngest musicians to record with the likes of Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, finally releasing material in his own right in 1956. Fontaine was one of the only documentary-makers privileged enough to film the Harlem-born legend during one of his more reclusive periods (Rollins was known to perform on Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Bridge in favour of more typical venues during these times) with the pair re-collaborating in 2010 in a concert commemorating the saxophonist’s 80th birthday. Expect famous cameos, tales of the good times, and some sweet, sweet jazz. Vancity Theatre1181 Seymour St.Tickets $9-$11 per screeningviff.org