Imagine the Sound

Jazz on Film

Hailed by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum as “the best documentary on free jazz,” Ron Mann’s directorial debut is a unique portrait of some of creative music’s greatest protagonists. Imagine the Sound reveals the inventive approaches and philosophies of pianists Paul Bley and Cecil Taylor, trumpeter Bill Dixon, and tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp through performances and candid interviews. The film is attentive to the visual impact of the music (Taylor’s piano-playing virtually qualifies as dance), and to the diverse biographical, musical, and ideological underpinnings of avant-garde jazz experimentation.

Preceded By
(Late 1960s) This short film is an experiment in patterns on 16mm with music by drummer Paul Motian.

Access to Films in Brown Auditorium Theater
While the entry from Main Street into the Law Building is under construction, park in the Beck Building garage (1144 Binz Street) and take the Wilson Tunnel to the theater. Construction does not affect access to Lynn Wyatt Theater in the Kinder Building. Campus Map

The MFAH film department is supported by Tenaris; The June Leaf and Robert Frank Foundation; the Vaughn Foundation; The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea; Nina and Michael Zilkha; Franci Neely; Carrin Patman and Jim Derrick; Ms. Laurence Unger; L'Alliance Française de Houston; and ILEX Foundation.

Generous support has been provided by Gerry Aitken, Richard Levy and Dinah Chetrit, and Anne Tucker and Robert Morris.

Imagine the Sound

Directed by Ron Mann
(USA, 1981, 90 minutes, in English)
Brown Auditorium Theater, Digital restoration


Caroline Wiess Law Building
1001 Bissonnet Street
Houston, TX 77005
Map & Directions