Absolutely No Jazz In Jazz in the Diamond District


Talk about false advertising: There is no bebop or a single blue note in first-time director Lindsey Christian’s crushingly slipshod D.C. drama, about an aspiring singer named Jasmine “Jazz” Morgan (Monique Cameron) who calls her home the “Diamond District” due to its geographic shape. After her mother dies of lung cancer, Jazz quits college and is conveniently propelled by a ponderous script into accidentally becoming a stage sensation within the city’s pulsating, seedy go-go scene, long a magnet for urban violence. She hooks up with The Wire‘s Wood Harris, the only pro sneaking in a little charisma (or, at least, a consistent and non-wooden performance) as the perpetually stoned band manager who knocks her up for the sake of dramatic obstacle—much like the drugs, sexism, random club death, and conservative father who must be disobeyed so that Jazz may live out her misguided dreams. Droningly narrated by her naive sister, Leah (Erica Chamblee), the film boasts a Chucky Thompson–produced soundtrack filled with sexy, sweaty cuts of local flavor, and yet this rarely depicted subculture isn’t critiqued, defended, or even thoroughly surveyed. It’s funky, in a bad way.

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