Roush Review: Get Jazzed and Groove to 'The Eddy' on Netflix
You don't have to love jazz — though it wouldn't hurt — to groove to the scintillating soundtrack and discordant dramatic rhythms of The Eddy. The talent behind this immersive eight-part riff about musicians in modern-day Paris is considerable: Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Tony-winning dramatist Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), Grammy-winning composer Glen Ballard, Emmy-winning producer-director Alan Pool (Six Feet Under), to name an illustrious few.
Authenticity is key to this slow-burning but mesmerizing celebration of a naturalistic world where life is a messy improvisation. Promising to do for European jazz what HBO's Treme did for the New Orleans music scene, The Eddy evokes an art-house sensibility with handheld and jittery camerawork that swirls to the music in extended scenes of blissful creation.
But there's a gripping pulp aspect to the narrative, set in the multicultural melting pot of the titular nightclub, where a violent incident early on sets the story in motion — although plot isn't what drives The Eddy as much as mood and emotion, which is plentiful.
Violent criminal elements threaten to sour the harmonies carefully nurtured by co-owner Elliot Udo (a pensive André Holland), a famous pianist who hasn't performed in years following a family tragedy. His relationship with a talented but fractious house band, and especially its mercurial lead singer (the marvelously unaffected Joanna Kulig), is complicated by the arrival of his spirited but resentful teenage daughter, Julie (the terrific Amandla Stenberg).
As Julie acts out on the vividly rendered city streets, Elliot is distracted from repairing their relationship by his struggles to keep the club afloat and make a record deal. (One sticking point in the negotiations: Will he play or won't he?)
With each episode focusing on a specific character in Elliot's moody orbit, I found myself focusing less on the drama and more on the evocative music. The good news: a soundtrack of tunes from The Eddy will be released on Arista Records on the same day the show launches.
The Eddy, Series Premiere, Friday, May 8, Netflix