Good news! THE SAVOY KING: CHICK WEBB AND THE MUSIC THAT CHANGED AMERICA is coming to New York City . . . .
“The Savoy King is an important contribution to our knowledge and our history. I highly recommend that those who have the opportunity see this film.” – Harry Belafonte
“Vibrant and evocative – – I loved every minute of The Savoy King.” – film critic Leonard Maltin
With the voices of: Sunpie Barnes as Barney Bigard, Bill Cosby as Chick Webb, Billy Crystal as Mezz Mezzrow, Tyne Daly as Helen Oakley Dance, Keith David as Charles Buchanan, Andy Garcia as Mario Bauzá, Danny Glover as Count Basie, Jeff Goldblum as Artie Shaw, Janet Jackson as Ella Fitzgerald, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as Dizzy Gillespie, John Legend as Dizzy Gillespie, Ron Perlman as Gene Krupa, Voza Rivers as Sandy Williams, Eugene Robinson as Teddy McRae, and Charlie Watts as Stanley Dance
THE SAVOY KING: CHICK WEBB AND THE MUSIC THAT CHANGED AMERICA will screen at THE 50TH NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL:
Saturday, Sept. 29 (noon), at The Walter Reade Theater, 165 W. 65th St.
Tuesday, Oct. 2 (3:30pm), at The Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W. 65th St.
September 13, 10am to noon, there is a press screening and Q&A at The Walter Reade Theater, with Director / Producer Jeff Kaufman, Executive Producer Voza Rivers (Chairman of The Harlem Arts Alliance), and NEA Jazz Master Roy Haynes
September 28, 8pm, a panel with a Swing Dance to follow, with The George Gee Swing Orchestra, and special guest vocalist Lainie Cooke. The panel will be hosted by Judy Pritchett, and will include: Dr. Richard Gale (son of Savoy Ballroom owner Moe Gale), Swing dance master Norma Miller, and Jeff Kaufman (director / producer of The Savoy King). Location: Dance Manhattan, 39 West 19th Street, New York, NY 10011. (212) 807-0802
October 2, at noon: a panel at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, part of Harlem Arts Advocacy Week. Hosted by Voza Rivers of the Harlem Arts Alliance / New Heritage Theatre Group; the panel will include: Dr. Richard Gale (son of Savoy Ballroom owner Moe Gale), Swing dance master Norma Miller, playwright / actress Gertrude Jeannette, drummer Roy Haynes, and Jeff Kaufman (Director / Producer of The Savoy King). Location: The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York NY 10037-1801
“We fought a war with music and dance, and that’s what opened the doors.”
– Norma Miller
Note to JAZZ LIVES readers: this is not only a splendid film about Chick Webb and the music he created and helped make the American popular language — it is about that music’s power to create acceptance and break down barriers. THE SAVOY KING is also a wonderful film — even if you have never heard or heard of Chick Webb, it has its own power to enchant without ever seeming didactic.
I’d make it required viewing for anyone who thinks (s)he wants to make a film, because it’s so far beyond the usual parade of talking heads . . . .
Don’t miss it!
May your happiness increase.