In 1963, I was working as a writer-producer for Channel 13 in NYC making the transition from the Bway Stage as an actor and director to Television and films...I decided that I should make my first film--about my first loves, jazz and dance. And, as an early-on jazz singer-percussionist, I thought rhythm cutting absolutely the brilliant way to find a creative personal film-making style and technique.
Charlie Mingus, the legendary bass player was my friend at the time and was supposed to do the jazz score for me but he begged off at last minute recommending I work with the up and coming jazz composer, saxophonist Gigi Gryce. Gigi said yes and composed "The Rat Race Blues", an 8.5 minute jazz suite for my film and I intrigued three of 1963's leading Martha Graham Dancers, Donald McKayle, Mary (Bunny) Hinkson, and Matt Turney to dance in my film.
I had Gigi's Orchtette pre-record the jazz suite including then young jazz-great players the likes of Richard Wyands on piano, Reggie Workman on Bass, Mickey Roker on drums, Eddie Costa on vibes, Gigi on woodwinds & flute, and Richard Williams on trumpet.
Shot entirely to the recorded Jazz score and amplified in 35mm/24fps audio sync playback for the dancers on location (The Long Island Sound,) I then fine-edited the sequences based on the beats of the score, and what emerged from the cutting room was truly "ON THE SOUND"--and, by the way, won the USA Golden Eagle for 1963, and Special mention and Selection representing the USA at the 1963 Edinburgh, Berlin and Venice International Film Festivals.
Fred Baker (Dec. 2010)