SF Jazz closed the 2015 summer session with film screenings at state of the art Miner Hall on Sunday with live original jazz, The Club Foot Orchestra premiering a lively comic score with recognizable but twisted interpretations of classics along with original expressions for Buster Keaton’s heartwarming cowboy flick, ‘Go West’. Club Foot Orchestra performed first with animated shorts ‘How a Mosquito Operates’; Felix the Cat in ‘Felix Woos Whoopie’; and Koko the clown in ‘Koko the Convict’. The musicians sat in clear view under the screen, below steeply raked seating and facing the audience. The 2015-16 season begins September 10.
Richard Marriott the founder and trombonist quipped as he introduced the new score about playing dissonant, subversive and macabre music and just needing a film to go with it. He has written original scores for many classic surreal films including the sinister ‘Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ and ‘Nosferatu’ along with ‘Pandora’s Box’. It was fun picking out the known musical phrases Richard Marriott incorporated into his jazz. ‘Did you notice Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer?’ he asked with a smile, sounding gleeful and triumphant after the show.
Tunes within the original jazz composition ranged from the ‘William Tell Overture’ in jazz mode to the Charleston, ‘These Boots are Made for Walkin’’, ‘Don’t Fence Me In’, ‘Camp Town Ladies’ and ‘How Dry I Am’, the latter probably an homage to W.C. Fields who was alive at the time of the film.
Patron Martin Gruber came from Vallejo to his the show and mentioned Richard Marriott performs in New York as well as San Francisco. Martin Gruber and Ken Moller each saw the 5:30 show and chatted about their long time interest in Club Foot Orchestra. Gruber said that Beth Custer, Richard Marriott along with Sheldon Brown wrote the piece in the two weeks they had. Brown writes jazzier. Custer emailed after the show, my two cues were ‘Brown Eyes’ when Buster first tries to be a cowboy, about 10 minutes in, and then about 38 minutes in when he’s learning of his beloved cow going to the slaughterhouse and then goes and plays poker!
Moller remembers seeing Club Foot Orchestra and Richard many years ago when Richard mentioned his nine year old son Jacque. The grown man appeared at the performance and posed for a photo with his father after the show as jovial fans gathered to hug and congratulate. Meanwhile the Niles Film Museum in Fremont features Buster Keaton and the International Buster Keaton Society. Keaton filmed in Niles Canyon.
Club Foot also screened an animated short which the museum will screen, ‘How a Mosquito Operates’ on August 29. Gruber also said SF Jazz had scheduled a live performance with the Keaton film ‘Sherlock Jr.’ which is part of their repertoire but Club Foot made a last minute switch to ‘Go West’.
Related: SF Jazz presents Club Foot Orchestra and Buster Keaton’s ‘Go West’; and Lisa Mezzacappa with AvantNoir with Dashiell Hammett’s ‘The Maltese Falcon’.
Lisa Mezzacappa and AvantNoir performed original compositions inspired by film noir for the screening of Dashiell Hammett’s ‘The Maltese Falcon’ (1945) but did not stay to perform during the campy film, which seemed unintentionally funny. Mezzacappa played bass and her gleaming mahogany hair matched the color of the bass she plucked. She played about five songs in the half hour set with titles such as ‘Fillmore Street’, a criminal hang out; ‘The Ballad of Big Flora’ infused with a negligee, cigarette, swigs of rum and a bullet wound; a getaway and rendevous song and more.
Her inspirations included sound effects from a martini shaker, fizz bottle, glasses and a tamborine along with the drummer beating with the palms of his hands and scratching a cymbal with the end of his drumstick. Her music careened, stopped suddenly, shot out in short bursts, screeched like an alley cat and drove on with the sound of sirens. She will be performing original jazz scores with four original local films in the Mission.
Tickets from SF Jazz were only $15 or $20. Miner Hall operates a bar on each of the two floors with alcohol and unique drinks including artisan cola plus some snacks such as a cup of seasoned almonds and potato chips, all of which can be taken into the theater. Miner Hall at 201 Franklin Street is a few blocks from Civic Center BART, which just opened a bright new bike cage.
For more information: SF Jazz