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Northampton Jazz Festival to Present Jazz Film Night on June 13

NORTHAMPTON — The Northampton Jazz Festival will kick off its 2024 festival season with a documentary film, Buster Williams Bass to Infinity, on Thursday, June 13 at 7 p.m. at Northampton Center for the Arts, 33 Hawley St.

The 2021 film directed and produced by Adam Kahan tells the story of Buster Williams, an ambitious and courageous teenage bass player who seized opportunity after opportunity to play as a sideman with jazz musicians across the globe at the very top of their game. It is told with the infamous, reserved pride of the bass player, the musician cited as the glue to any band — the one who makes everyone else sound good.

On a deeper level, the film explores the intangible qualities of America’s original art form — the universal music known as jazz — as told by Williams and other jazz musician greats. In the film, Williams is joined by, and plays with, some of the greatest living contributors to the music: Benny Golson, Herbie Hancock, Rufus Reid, Christian McBride, Larry Willis, Carmen Lundy, Kenny Barron, and Lenny White.

After the screening, Kahan will lead a Q&A session with the audience, joined by Williams’ longtime friend and colleague, Avery Sharpe, the world-renowned bassist, composer, arranger, and bandleader, who lives in Western Mass.

Kahan is a filmmaker, musician, and human-rights activist who has made multiple documentaries, often focusing on artists and musicians, as well as short narrative and experimental films.

Living in New York City since 1968, Williams has played, recorded, and collaborated with jazz giants such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis, Nancy Wilson, Art Blakey, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and countless others.

Tickets cost $15 in advance on Eventbrite (click here) or $20 at the door. There will be a guest reception at 6 p.m. For more information, visit northamptonjazzfest.org/jazz-film-night or facebook.com/northamptonjazzfest, or email [email protected].