The Jazz world is filled with legendary figures that still resonate through our bones when you hear their music. There are also many legendary figures in the jazz world that many folks don't know about. Joe Albany was a talented pianist who played with some of the biggest and most well known legends. But Joe's story is something not known outside of the jazz scene or to jazz lovers. Low Down is Director Jeff Preiss' look into the memoir of Joe Albany by his daughter Amy-Jo Albany. I was able to chat with Jeff about the legacy of Joe Albany, working with Amy-Jo, and about making his feature film debut.
From the Low Down website –
"Based on the memoir by Amy-Jo Albany, LOW DOWN is a compassionate, tender look at the complex relationship between Amy-Jo (Elle Fanning) and her father Joe (John Hawkes), a man torn between his musical ambition, his devotion to his teenage daughter, and his suffocating heroin addiction. Set against a sensuously textured 1970s Hollywood, the film beautifully evokes a colorful, seedy world of struggling musicians, artists, and vagabonds, in which Joe and Amy-Jo strive to live the lives they want against seemingly insurmountable odds."
Interview with Director – Jeff Preiss:
Jeff and I started out talking about how he first heard of Joe Albany.
In fact, Jeff actually saw Joe play in NYC on numerous occasions.
We talked about Jeff getting to meet Amy and how they came to work together.
Jeff has over 20 years of cinematography work on his resume and we talked about the choice to shoot in 16mm.
Jeff talked about why he chose DP Christopher Blauvelt, and the Harris Savides connection they both share.
Shooting on film allowed for the location of Hollywood to come to life as it's on vibrant character in the film.
We discussed the scenes between Glenn Close and Elle Fanning.
I asked Jeff about the interesting characters that pop in and create intriguing interludes during the film.
We of course talked about the music and score of the film.
Jeff ended our conversation with a wonderful final thought about his experience in making this film.
Lastly one of my favorite recordings from Joe:
Joe Albany – Yardbird Suite
Now's The Time / Recorded January 4,1979