Tips

Benjamin Herman recommends…

No less than 557 films, from short to long, means there are tricky choices to be made at IFFR 2018. Which is why we asked a few well-known faces to watch a film for us. Every day in the run-up to the festival, we will publish a new tip by one of these familiar faces to help you find your way. Today: saxophonist Benjamin Herman. He’s been playing with his band New Cool Collective for twenty-five years now, as well as working with jazz and pop musicians from all over the world such as Paul Weller, Typhoon, Chef’Special and drummer Han Bennink. He chose Milford Graves Full Mantis (Jake Meginsky en Neil Young, 2018).

“Milford Graves is a very special and free jazz bird, with deep theories on music and life. The film is full of Milford’s wisdom and life lessons. For example, he explains why people get sentimental when they listen to music in a minor key, or he describes the relationship between your heartbeat and different rhythms in ambient sound. As an example, he cites his own research into heart rhythms and the rhythms made by computers and a heart monitor."

  • Still: Milford Graves Full Mantis

  • Still: Milford Graves Full Mantis

  • Still: Milford Graves Full Mantis

Milford Graves is a very special and free jazz bird, with deep theories on music and life.” – Benjamin Herman

"Milford makes music in the same way he describes his philosophy: completely on the basis of feel. He also talks a lot while playing, and makes these mad sounds. He bashes away at anything in sight. Really free, and sometimes pretty crazy.
The slow pace of the film suits Milford’s life story, his spirituality and reflections on life and music. Milford is the only person who talks in the film, which means we are drawn completely into his world. Which is refreshing when you think about all the talking heads you see in most music documentaries, with musicians taking it in turns to blow each other’s trumpets. This is a very special film for jazz lovers, not only about a very special musician but also an iconic era: the 1960s and ’70s, when jazz music and musicians were extremely free and innovative.”