The music for New York Eye and Ear Control by experimental Canadian filmmaker Michael Snow (reissued for the umpteenth time by ESP-Disk last spring) has almost always gotten more attention than the film itself. The 1964 session featured one of the greatest lineups of the free-jazz era–saxophonist Albert Ayler, trumpeter Don Cherry, saxophonist John Tchicai, trombonist Roswell Rudd, bassist Gary Peacock, and drummer Sunny Murray (sometimes spelled “Sonny,” as you can see to the left)–engaged in intense collective improvisation, their sharp give-and-take rolling through relative calm and thunderous chaos.
The film was also known as “Walking Woman,” after the silhouetted female form that turns up in many of the scenes. I don’t know why I hadn’t heard about this before, but the recent CD reissue claims the image was based on pianist and composer Carla Bley–then a new presence on the New York scene. It was also printed on original versions of the soundtrack record’s label.
New York Eye and Ear Control will be screened as part of a free Snow program presented by the Experimental Film Club at the University of Chicago this Friday at 7 PM. It’s at the school’s Film Studies Center in Cobb Hall (5811 South Ellis, room 307). You can find the complete program at the Film Studies center Web site.
Mitsuhiro Yoshimura, Toshiya Tsunoda, and Taku Sugimoto, Santa (Presquile)
Ahmad Jamal, It’s Magic (Dreyfus)
Scott DuBois, Banshees (Sunnyside)
Ricardo Villalobos, Vasco (Perlon)
Soren Kjærgaard, Ben Street, and Andrew Cyrille, Optics (ILK)