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Today's Fare At Afi Fest : "Saxophone Colossus"

March 20, 1987|LEONARD FEATHER

Below are reviews of films showing today that were previewed too late for inclusion in the festival roundup in Sunday's Calendar.

(U.S.A., 1986, 5:30 p.m.) Directed by Robert Mugge, this 100-minute film begins in an attractive sculptured rock quarry where Sonny Rollins blows almost ad infinitum on a minor chord. After an on-screen analysis of his genius by three critics, it comes as a light shock when he peppers his solo with quotes from "How Are Things in Glocca Morra" and even "The Man on the Flying Trapeze." Later he misjudges a step down in the quarry, lands on his back and plays "Autumn Nocturne" in a prone position. (It turns out he has broken his heel.) The balance of the footage take place in a Tokyo theater, where Rollins' "Concert for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra," arranged and orchestrated by a Finnish writer named Heikki Sarmanto, is performed by the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. The music is finely crafted and the symbiosis works reasonably well. Sound and camera work throughout are generally excellent--except in a 1963 black-and-white clip of a Rollins short, so poor both in audio and visual quality that it should have been omitted.

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