'Milford Graves Full Mantis'
There would be no point in trying to make a straightforward portrait on drummer Milford Graves – this free-jazz musician who's played with Bill Frisell, Albert Ayler, Sonny Sharrock and John Zorn, among others, is one of those guys who literally marches to his own beat. Thankfully, documentarians Jake Meginsky and Neil Young (no, not that one) figured this out early, and simply made a movie about Graves' life and work that's similar to his percussive style: unpredictable, out-of-sync yet somehow rhythmically right on, jagged and likely to zig when you think it's going to zag. (Name another music doc that devotes screen time to its subject recording irregular heartbeats.) "Full mantis" refers to the drummer's interest in a style of martial arts which he felt that, in order to learn it, required going straight to the source. That's as good a metaphor for this look at an avant-garde luminary as any.