Painter/photographer/filmmaker David Perry immersed himself in Sydney's vibrant jazz scene and came out drenched in musical flavour and improvisation. Interviews with prominent Sydney jazz players including Bernie McGann, Mike Nock and Tony Gorman, as well as jazz authority John Clare, draw together what are often mistaken as disparate parts of an unorganised whole.
With live sets recorded at the Strawberry Hills Hotel, Perry gives definition to a scene which is fluid and flexible. The exploration of improvisational music and musicians is counterpointed with Perry's own personal reflections about improvisation in jazz, and its connections with the creative practise of painting, drawing and filmmaking.
DrJazz takes on a sense of urgency given the closing last year of the Strawberry Hills Hotel – the definitive jazz venue which abandoned music for poker machines. The closure lends bitter historical importance to the final performances there by the McGann Trio and Clarion Fracture Zone. More broadly, it signifies the life of jazz beyond, and often in spite of, whatever social forces fall in its path. Its endurance makes Dr Jazz an important document of a few key steps in that path.
"Jazz is like communism without the purges. It's the kind of music that leaves you open." – David Perry