jazz nights poster 2018


Jazz and the men and women who make it have often found themselves on the forefront of cultural turbulence and change. One could say it is part of the very DNA of jazz. That transformative intersection of music and society is intimately uncovered in the award-winning documentary JAZZ NIGHTS: A CONFIDENTIAL JOURNEY. JAZZ NIGHTS chronicles a group of L.A.’s top jazz musicians who, from 2014-2016, congregated in alternating configurations every Sunday night at an illegal, members-only, back-room hash bar hidden in the heart of Hollywood.

Once a week, these expert musicians formed a circle, a coterie of non-verbal, intuitive communication. There were no pre-determined set lists, no rehearsals. Attendance was through word-of-mouth only. No advertising. The result was an all-out exploration — both personal and communal — of what it means to be an artist, to take risks, to embrace change, and to passionately follow one’s heart.

CJFF Winner invertedThese nights at L.A. Confidential in Los Angeles poignantly echoed the Prohibition Era speakeasies of the 1920s as well as the ’50s underground jazz clubs of Harlem and Greenwich Village. All reflect a society caught in a quagmire of differing opinions and laws. In the case of JAZZ NIGHTS, one such crossroads was the legalization of marijuana. Only medically legal in the state of California at the time of filming, cannabis was and remains illegal under federal law, meaning that LACon continually operated under the risk of a federal raid.

In a time when the music industry and how music is delivered and consumed by audiences is changing rapidly, with music programs being eliminated from the curriculum at schools across the country, as the civil rights and economic struggles in our country continue to take center stage, JAZZ NIGHTS shines a light on an ethnically diverse group of individuals who have come together to discover both themselves and one another, their similarities and differences and how to use those to create something immensely human and life-affirming. JAZZ NIGHTS cast ride the coattails of the past, while simultaneously paving new inroads for the future.

Via in-depth interviews, these cutting-edge musicians explore their lives, influences, backstories, upbringings, inspirations, and cultural affiliations. The result is an evocative tapestry of live music, thoughts and memories, and a snapshot of a moment in time amidst an ever-evolving American landscape.

For up-to-the-minute production news on JAZZ NIGHTS: A CONFIDENTIAL JOURNEY, to find out more about the film, to watch the trailer, or to contribute, please visit our Official Web Site. You can also go to our Official Facebook Page or email us at


“The therapeutically shared musical catharsis that emanates from Jazz was intimately captured with rich color, texture and solid sound storytelling. A documentary for all to see!”  –LeRoy Downs, The Jazz Cat. 

“The film makers got it right, balancing superb music with an ongoing and intelligent contemplation/narrative from the performers about jazz and its pursuit. Highly recommended.”  –Dennis McNally, Cultural historian and Grateful Dead publicist.

“Takes the viewer into the world of the artists and makes them part of the scene. I had such a strong feeling of direct engagement with the music and the artists… It so effectively conveys many of the reasons jazz is so powerful and vital.”  –Steve Isoardi, Central Avenue Sounds. 

“Hal Masonberg’s sensual, understated documentary makes a case for jazz returning to the night. And not just the literal night but the night of alternative spaces of the L.A. underground and word-of-mouth, to music free from club and record label skulduggery and allowed to breath again.”  -Matthew Duersten, StompBeast. 

“JAZZ NIGHTS” is a window into the jazz musician’s everyday life and way of thinking. By following the stories of Los Angeles native musicians such as Geoff “Double G” Gallegos, Shaunte Palmer and Emile Porée, you can witness the beauty of how thriving the LA music scene is. Kudos to Hal Masonberg for this work of art. Highly recommended!” – Anthony Fung, jazz drummer.

“Jazz Nights no és ni molt menys un documental interessantíssim, sinó que va més enllà. És pura essència, humanitat i màgia del jazz i l’ànima més profunda dels músics que el fan possible. Vaig quedar profundament impactada. Gràcies Hal Masonberg per aquest regal dels sentits.” (“Jazz Nights is far from being just an interesting documentary, it goes much further. It is the pure essence, humanity and magic of jazz and the deepest soul of the musicians who make it possible. I was deeply shocked. Thank you Hal Masonberg for this gift of the senses.”) — Marta Carrasco, dancer, choreographer, performer.

“The music that is heard is not only an ambiance, or nuance, it is a movement that will set a standard of what underground Jazz means in Los Angeles. JAZZ NIGHTS: A CONFIDENTIAL JOURNEY gives back the essence and meaning of real straight-ahead Jazz..”  –A.K. Toney, Reading is Poetry. 

Jazz Nights shows us musicians making music, and musicians talking about music-making. As a musician, I often find this sort of thing hard to pull off in a way that does justice to the music and the subject matter. Hal Masonberg swirls them together brilliantly, punctuating each scene with appropriate and insightful quotations from players, critics, and philosophers. My favorite line: “To be a criminal, you have to improvise. And so there is no better training for crime than jazz.” – David Gans, musician, songwriter, and music journalist. 

“This a brilliant documentary of such special place and time. There’s always been the rivalry of Jazz from east coast to the west and I sense this to be the perfect reflection of how fine the west coast is. For this to take place in yet another grand aspect of L.A., a hash spot! Playing ones instrument in club of this size and with the air filled with the lush, reminds of what we’ve referenced as “contact high”, because Jazz music is also a perfect “contact high”, without a doubt… I highly recommend digging fully into Hal’s artistry here in this fine film. Dig!!!” – Breeze Smith, jazz percussionist

“JAZZ NIGHTS is masterfully structured, each topic set to a musical piece, each musical piece guiding us deeper into the theme of improvisation, until the entire set leaves us with a glowing epiphany!”  –Shyamala Moorty, Dancing Storytellers. 

“A riveting tour de force. With candor and unbridled passion, the artists resonate beyond the bandstand.”  –Jeffrey Winston, California Jazz Foundation. 

“Reveals a very contemporary reality of the classic American form, and at a specific moment in Los Angeles history. Hal Masonberg brings us intimately into the concert and practice space showing the skill that goes into being both unique individual players and coming together as an ensemble. I learn something new about both music and myself each time I see the film.”  –Sariyah Idan, Singer-Songwriter. 

“For me, it’s a classic with a firm place in the cultural archives right next to The Freshest Kids, Basquiat: The Radiant Child, and any Warhol documentary. It was so exciting to see my peers honored, our time in history captured, and the art form portrayed with such reverence.” –Ebony Ann Blaze, Jazz Vocalist

“A beautiful filmed document displaying the passion of jazz. An intimate portrayal that draws you into the musician’s world. A wonderful film for all jazz and music lovers!” -Bob Minkin, music photographer.

“Positively transcendent! Masonberg puts you right in the room and immerses you in the journey. Highly recommended!” Stephen Inglis, Grammy-nominated Hawaiian slack key guitarist.

“For those buried in the ritual of music OR individuals who may rarely care to hear a note, this film offers all a unique and intimate visit with a musical microcosm unlike any I’ve seen… Hal Masonberg’s camera work exposes a cinematic style that is so comfortable and tender… it relaxes. It was such a pleasure to get lost in this film. As a musician, I could not help feel like I was in that smokey back room, playing the beat, sensing the joy and digging into the musical exploration. JAZZ NIGHTS is the film you will want to watch twice… and I recommend doing so.” – Rodney Newman, drummer, Jerry’s Middle Finger

“LeRoy Downs and I had the opportunity to screen the film in Hollywood and we really enjoyed it. It takes you inside a unique gathering of local jazz musicians who come together weekly to share life stories, play jazz and fellowship. A real life glimpse of a group of working musicians.” – Frederick Smith, Jr., Producer of Just Jazz Concert Series in Los Angeles. 

  • Josh Duron Interview
  • _DSC3913
  • _DSC3923
  • _DSC3910
  • _DSC3924
  • _DSC3906
  • _DSC3905
  • _DSC3888
  • _DSC3903
  • _DSC3865
  • Jon Dalton Interview
  • Emile Poree Interview
  • Mike Khalil Interview
  • jazz nights poster 2015 w credits72
  • CJFF Winner inverted
  • CJFF Winner
  • jazz nights poster 2018
  • THE PLAGUE poster