Check out trailer and clips to THE SAVOY KING: Chick Webb & The Music That Changed America
Check out trailer to ‘THE SAVOY KING: Chick Webb & The Music That Changed America’
Posted by Wilson Morales
September 10, 2012
Recently released is the trailer along with some film clips to ‘The Savoy King: Chick Webb & The Music That Changed America,’ which will be shown at the New York Film Festival. The film was directed, written, produced, and shot by Jeff Kaufman.
The Savoy Ballroom was the home of the amazing Lindy 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 broke his back, 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”), groomed and then fired Louis Jordan (the founder of Rhythm & Blues), 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.
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. The Savoy King features Bill Cosby voicing the words of Chick Webb, Janet Jackson as Ella Fitzgerald, John Legend as Duke Ellington, plus Billy Crystal, Tyne Daly, Andy Garcia, Ron Perlman, Eugene Robinson, Danny Glover, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Keith David, Voza Rivers, Sunpie Barnes, Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, and Rocky Carroll of NCIS. The film presents newly filmed interviews (plus some singing and dancing) with drummers Louie Bellson and Roy Haynes, Swing dance masters Frankie Manning and Norma Miller, trumpeter Joe Wilder, playwright actress Gertrude Jeannette, Harlem Rens basketball star John Isaacs, Ella’s son Ray Brown, Jr., composer / arranger Van Alexander, and others.