The first annual Masters of American Music Film Festival will be held August 24-25 at New York’s Anthology Film Archives. The documentaries lined up for this festival will focus on jazz and rhythm and blues artists ranging from Billie Holiday to Alberta Hunter to John Coltrane to Louis Armstrong.
The program of films will run as follows –
2:30pm ^ “Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker” (1987, 58 minutes, directed by Gary Giddins & Kendrick Simmons) – The first authorized Charlie Parker documentary, including rare footage plus interviews with his family and fellow musicians including Dizzy Gillespie and Roy Haynes.
“The World According to John Coltrane” (1991, 58 minutes, directed by Robert Palmer & Toby Bryon) – The only authorized documentary of Coltrane traces his roots in the black church and in R&B during his 40 years of life and beyond.
5:00pm ^ “Satchmo-Louis Armstrong” (1989, 87 minutes, directed by Gary Giddins & Kendrick Simmons) – The definitive documentary biography includes rare film and TV footage, never-before-seen home movies, newly-discovered footage from a 1935 Chicago nightclub performance and a wealth of interviews by Armstrong and his peers.
7:00pm ^ “Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday” (1990, 60 minutes, directed by Matthew Seig) – Winner of the 1993 Cable ACE Award, this
celebrated documentary culls Holiday’s surviving footage from her film, TV and concert appearances.
“Count Basie: Swingin’ the Blues” (1993, 55 minutes, directed by Matthew Seig) – Roscoe Lee Browne narrates this melodious celebration of the innovative musical icon.
9:30pm ^ “Sarah Vaughan: The Divine One” (1987, 58 minutes, directed by Matthew Seig) – The life and music of Sarah Vaughan, featuring her peerless performances of “Body and Soul” and “The Shadow of Your Smile.”
“Ray Charles: The Genius of Soul” (1992, 58 minutes, directed by Yvonne Smith) – The definitive film biography, featuring interviews with Ray Jr., Billy Joel, Jerry Wexler, and the great man himself.
2:00pm ^ “Alberta Hunter, My Castle’s Rockin'” (1992, 60 minutes, directed by Stuart Goldman) – The extraordinary life of the elusive jazz star who
abruptly vanished at the peak of her popularity and just as suddenly returned years later to pick up where she left off…at the age of 82!
“No Maps on My Taps” (1979, 59 minutes, directed by George T. Nierenberg) – Lionel Hampton and his band perform the musical soundtrack to this award-winning celebration of the heritage of tap dancing.
4:30pm ^ “Thelonius Monk: American Composer” (1991, 60 minutes, directed by Matthew Seig) – An intimate portrait of the great composer.
“That Rhythm-Those Blues” (1988, 57 minutes, directed by George T. Nierenberg) – The evolution of rhythm and blues through the careers of Ruth Brown and Charles Brown.
7:00pm ^ “The Story of Jazz” (1993, 97 minutes, directed by Matthew Seig) – An amazing overview of the roots, rhythms and personality of jazz in America, with the greatest jazz cast ever assembled: Louis Armstrong,
Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughan, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis
and many more.
9:15pm ^ “Bluesland: A Portrait in American Music” (1993, 83 minutes, directed by Ken Mandel) – The journey of the blues through the 20th century, with performances by Bessie Smith, T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, B.B. King and the Rolling Stones.
Admission is $8 per film for adults, $5 per film for seniors and students.
For more information, visit the website for the Anthology Film Archives.