Keeping Time: The Life, Music & Photographs Of Milt Hinton

This hour-long documentary (2002) about one of the great jazz bassistswho was also a major photographer of jazz musicians and performanceshas a fascinating story to tell as well as a charismatic subject. In his youth Hinton was injured in a car accident in Chicago while running prohibition liquor and was saved by his boss, Al Capone, from having a finger amputated; as a bassist he quickly rose to the top of his profession, and the clips here show how indispensable he could be as a sideman. Unfortunately, like most other fashioners of jazz documentaries, directors David G. Berger, Holly Maxon, and Kate Hirson can’t resist laying voices over some of the best solos after teasing us with a chorus or two, so that, like Jean Bach’s A Great Day in Harlem (1994), this works better as a historical chronicle and an appreciation of personalities than as a presentation of the music. (JR)

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