Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Righting a Past Wrong? Academy to Present Spike Lee with Honorary Oscar Righting a Past Wrong? Academy to Present Spike Lee with Honorary Oscar Viola Davis Says She Will Star in a Film Adaptation of 'Fences' Directed by Denzel Washington Viola Davis Says She Will Star in a Film Adaptation of 'Fences' Directed by Denzel Washington Vin Diesel Says He's Returning for a 'xXx' Threequel - Filming to Start in December Vin Diesel Says He's Returning for a 'xXx' Threequel - Filming to Start in December Updates on Steve McQueen's "Epic" Series Centered on a Black Community in London, Over 3 Decades Updates on Steve McQueen's "Epic" Series Centered on a Black Community in London, Over 3 Decades This Is What Angela Bassett and Naomi Campbell Will Look Like in 'American Horror Story: Hotel' This Is What Angela Bassett and Naomi Campbell Will Look Like in 'American Horror Story: Hotel' Quentin Tarantino Says 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Timely & Will Tackle White Supremacy Quentin Tarantino Says 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Timely & Will Tackle White Supremacy But What About Black Superheroines, You Ask? Watch Episode 1 of CW Seed's Vixen Series But What About Black Superheroines, You Ask? Watch Episode 1 of CW Seed's Vixen Series Watch: First Look at Season Three of 'Hit the Floor' Watch: First Look at Season Three of 'Hit the Floor' Brad Pitt's Plan B + 'Ex Machina' Distribution Company Team up for Barry Jenkins' 'Moonlight' Brad Pitt's Plan B + 'Ex Machina' Distribution Company Team up for Barry Jenkins' 'Moonlight' Jay Ellis and Yvonne Orji Join Issa Rae in 'Insecure' for HBO Jay Ellis and Yvonne Orji Join Issa Rae in 'Insecure' for HBO Tupac Shakur Facebook Page Posts Cryptic Message on Upcoming "Special Announcement." Biopic News? Tupac Shakur Facebook Page Posts Cryptic Message on Upcoming "Special Announcement." Biopic News? Weekend B.O. Aug 21-23 (F. Gary Gray Becomes a Prominent Member of the $100 Million Black Directors Club) Weekend B.O. Aug 21-23 (F. Gary Gray Becomes a Prominent Member of the $100 Million Black Directors Club) Dr. Dre Issues Public Statement Apologizing for "The Women I’ve Hurt" Dr. Dre Issues Public Statement Apologizing for "The Women I’ve Hurt" Timely Brit Documentary 'The Hard Stop' Explores Life & Death of Mark Duggan + Riots That Followed (Trailer) Timely Brit Documentary 'The Hard Stop' Explores Life & Death of Mark Duggan + Riots That Followed (Trailer) Say Hello to Marvel's Newest Superhero - Moon Girl Say Hello to Marvel's Newest Superhero - Moon Girl Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... AFM News: Danny Glover, Derek Luke Will Play Prison Inmates In 3D Drama 'Long Day Journey' AFM News: Danny Glover, Derek Luke Will Play Prison Inmates In 3D Drama 'Long Day Journey'

Preview: Doc 'The Savoy King: Chick Webb & The Music That Changed America'

Shadow and Act By Vanessa Martinez | Shadow and Act August 20, 2012 at 8:39PM

Screening at the New York Film Festival this October as part of the fest's "On The Arts" Special Events, the Swing-era feature documentary The Savoy King: Chick Webb & The Music That Changed America, follows the short life of drummer Chick Webb, who suffered from Spinal Tuberculosis since he was a child, as he built the hottest American Jazz orchestra based at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, NY.
1
The Savoy King

Screening at the New York Film Festival this October as part of the fest's "On The Arts" Special Events, the Swing-era feature documentary The Savoy King: Chick Webb & The Music That Changed America, follows the short life of drummer Chick Webb, who suffered from Spinal Tuberculosis since he was a child, as he built the hottest American Jazz orchestra based at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, NY.

Described as "a meditation on the transformative power of art," the New Heritage Theatre Group co-production is directed/produced by Jeff Kaufman and edited by Jamal El-Amin. The Savoy King, which also tells the story of Ella Fitzgerald, quotes the greatest legends in the history of Jazz, and features the voices of Bill Cosby as Chick Webb, Tyne Daly as Jazz publicist Helen Oakley Dance, Ron Perlman as Gene Krupa, Andy Garcia as Mario Bauzá, and Danny Glover as Count Basie.

Here's more about the film:

The Savoy Ballroom was the home of the amazing Hop dancers, and the first venue in America where Blacks and Whites could dance and socialize together. It had a huge, but largely unheralded social impact. Born fatherless and poor, Chick Webb developed spinal tuberculosis and was a hunchbacked dwarf in constant pain, yet he virtually invented modern drumming and built the hottest band of the 1930s (it was the Savoy Ballroom’s “house band”).

Chick was mentored by Duke Ellington, toured with Louis Armstrong, argued with Jelly Roll Morton, jammed with Artie Shaw, married a beautiful dancer, discovered and practically adopted Ella Fitzgerald, beat Benny Goodman and Count Basie in legendary battle of the bands, befriended Mario Bauzá (“The Father of Afro-Cuban Jazz”), encouraged a struggling Dizzy Gillespie, and helmed the first Black band to host a national radio show . . . all before drumming himself to death at age 30.

We’ve been privileged to film with people who could each could warrant their own documentary. They include: drummers Louie Bellson and Roy Haynes, trumpeter Joe Wilder, playwright-actress Gertrude Jeannette, Swing dance masters Frankie Manning and , Harlem Rens basketball star John Issacs, composer-arranger , longtime Harlem physician Dr. Muriel Petioni, and childhood friend Rev. Edward Wilson, Ella’s son Ray Brown Jr., the son of the Savoy Ballroom’s owner Dr. Richard Gale, and Chick’s jazz-loving nephew Brad Rowe.

Chick’s brief, inspiring life illuminates the society-changing power of music, the life-lifting effect of mentoring, a hard-fought breakthrough in racial understanding that reverberates today in many ways, and the ability of everyone (with or without disabilities) to reach beyond their apparent limits.

Watch the very engaging preview clips below:

This article is related to: Documentary


Shadow & ActNewsletter