Music Program

Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

$15 general admission, $12 students/seniors, $10 members

To learn more about the benefits of becoming a member, please click here.

William Hooker solo with silent film: A Page of Madness

photo by Luciano Rossetti

photo by Michiel Devijver

William Hooker - drums

William Hooker is an American jazz drummer and composer who has performed as a leader of many ensembles of improvised and new music. "Recognized as an iconoclast, and one of the most innovative musicians and drummers of his generation, William knows no genre bounds and ceaselessly searches for new forms of music, always with the intent to inspire."

William Hooker's body of uninterrupted work beginning in the mid-seventies defines him as one of the most important composers and players in jazz. As bandleader, Hooker has fielded ensembles in an incredibly diverse array of configurations. Each collaboration has brought a serious investigation of his compositional agenda and the science of the modern drum kit. His work is frequently grounded in a narrative context. Whether set against a silent film or anchored by a poetic theme, Hooker brings dramatic tension and human warmth to avant-garde jazz. His ability to find fertile ground for moving music in a variety of settings that obliterate genre distinctions offers a much-needed statement of social optimism in the arts.

William Hooker (drummer, composer and poet) has created works that range from jazz and "new" music to experimental genres. He has released over 60 CDs a a leader. Mr. Hooker has performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Atrium at Lincoln Center, Wadsworth Atheneum, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Walker Art Center, MTV, The Kitchen, Roulette, Real Art Ways. He has also presented his work at the JVC Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival, CMJ Music Festival, Vilnius Jazz Festival, Experimenta Argentina, The Knitting Factory and the Victoriaville Music Festival.

William Hooker has received commissions and support from the New York State Council on the Arts, Meet the Composer, Tokio Marine Insurance Company and colleges and universities such as Oberlin, Fordham, Columbia, New York University, Boston University, Princeton, Dartmouth and many more. Accompanying musicians have included Billy Bang, David Ware, William Parker, Thurston Moore, David Soldier, Roy Campbell, DJ Spooky, Steven Bernstein, Zeena Parkins, Lee Ranaldo, Jason Hwang, Sabir Mateen, Elliott Sharp, David Murray, Ted Daniel, JD Parran and many more.

A Page of Madness (Kurutta Ippēji or Kurutta Ichipeiji) is a silent film by Japanese film director Teinosuke Kinugasa, made in 1926. It was lost for forty-five years until being rediscovered by Kinugasa in his storehouse in 1971. The film is the product of an avant-garde group of artists in Japan known as the Shinkankakuha (or School of New Perceptions) who tried to overcome naturalistic representation.

Yasunari Kawabata, who would win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, was credited on the film with the original story. He is often cited as the film's screenwriter, and a version of the scenario is printed in his complete works, but the scenario is now considered a collaboration between Kawabata, Kinugasa, Banko Sawada, and Minoru Inuzuka. Eiji Tsuburaya is credited as an assistant cameraman.

Plot: The film takes place in an asylum, in the countryside. Amid a torrential rainstorm, a janitor wanders through the halls revealing the various patients suffering from mental illness. The next day, a young woman arrives at the asylum and is surprised to see her father, the janitor, working there. Her mother is an inmate in the asylum, and she had gone insane due to the cruelty of her husband when he was a sailor. The janitor, feeling guilty, had taken a job at the asylum to take care of her. The daughter announces that she is about to get married to a fine young man, but the janitor begins to worry, since society at the time still maintained the prejudiced view that mental illness is inherited. If the young man's family learns about the mother, the marriage might be called off.

At work, his relationship with his wife, which is not known to the asylum, interferes with his job, as he gets into a fight with some male inmates when his wife his hit, and is sternly scolded by the head doctor. All this sparks the janitor to experience a number of fantasies, as he slowly loses control of the border between dreams and reality. He first has a daydream about winning a chest of drawers at a lottery that he could give to his daughter as part of her dowry. When his daughter comes to tell him her marriage is in trouble, he thinks about taking his wife away from the asylum so as to hide her existence. Finally, he fantasizes about killing the head doctor, but that reverie goes out of hand as a bearded inmate is seen marrying his daughter. The janitor finally dreams of distributing masks to the inmates, providing them at last with happy faces. He returns to work mopping the floors, no longer able to visit his wife's ward because he had lost the keys. He sees the bearded inmate pass by, who bows to him for the first time, as if bowing to his father in law.

Hallwalls Music Program is made possible through a generous grant from The Cullen Foundation & public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.