There’s something about mastication that makes legends not so legendary. All the chewing and talking while chewing – it’s just gross.
"On the Road With Duke Ellington" is an intimate look at the jazz legend in his own element at age 68. Some of it is candid and funny, while overall you are left with the sense that you didn’t really learn much. Learning something from a documentary happens to be a preference of mine, whereas "On the Road" really just enforces what everyone knows – Duke Ellington is cool as hell. Always was, always will be. At the table of cool, he sits just to the right of Steve McQueen.
I have very little knowledge of jazz, but it always went without saying that Duke Ellington was jazz, and he was cool as hell. "On the Road" shows Ellington working the crowd as a seasoned M.C. with some 54 years of experience and a pair of twinkling eyes hiding behind puffy lids.
His talent as a musician goes unchallenged, but "On the Road" showcases Duke’s talent as an entertainer. The biggest venues were his own intimate dive bars as he stood alone with the mic in the spotlight, smiling and snapping his fingers. Damn, he was cool.
My roommate is kind of a jazz person, and anybody who is a jazz person will scoff at this movie as ass-licking tripe. These are his words, mind you, not mine. Like I said, I don’t know much about jazz, so it was nice to hear the songs and see the legend admit the reason he chose music was for the chicks. As a film, it didn’t have any kind of message other than praise for Ellington. Seeing as people don’t really appreciate his music enough, "On the Road" touches on the composer’s sentiments about the masses’ desire for the hits and little else.
"On the Road" also shows very abstract compositions like "Traffic Jam" in addition to classics like "Satin Doll." Other notable scenes include the funeral of his protZ
I dug on early Sean Connery flicks before it became absurd for his grizzled paws to grope Catherine Zeta- Douglas, Jones, whatever. But if someone did an intimate portrait of Mr. Bond taking a dump or blowing his nose, I just wouldn’t go for it.
"On the Road with Duke Ellington": Go for the music if nothing else, you uncultured swine.
"On the Road with Duke Ellington" is playing Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Campbell Hall.