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“Low Down,” the New Film About Unsung Piano Master Joe Albany

An "Everyday Joe" struggles through the '70s

John Hawkes as Joe Albany in "Low Down"
Joe Albany

Low Down, the jazz-soaked film inspired by the life of underappreciated bebop pianist Joe Albany, owes its birth to a bit of serendipity. Jeff Preiss, best known for his gorgeous black-and-white cinematography in the impressionistic Chet Baker documentary Let’s Get Lost, was shooting a TV commercial in Los Angeles when he met Amy-Jo Albany, Joe’s daughter, who was in the crew. She was playing Baker’s music on a boom box. “I told him I knew Chet, and that he was a fri¬end of my dad’s,” she says.

Recounts Preiss, “Amy said, ‘I never meet non-musicians that know my dad’s music.'”

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