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  • THE SAVOY KING DVD

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    "The Savoy King is an important contribution to our knowledge and our history. I highly recommend this film."

    - Harry Belafonte

    "The Savoy King is enjoyable and convincing . . . the vibrant doc is rewarding for any Swing fan and, given some colorful and heartstring-pulling elements, will likely inspire filmmakers in the audience to wonder about biopic rights."

    -  The Hollywood Reporter:

    Interviews and performances with Van Alexander, Louie Bellson, Ray Brown Jr., Richard Gale, Roy Haynes, John Isaacs, Gertrude Jeannette, Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Dr. Muriel Petioni, Brad Rowe, Joe Wilder, and Rev. Edward Wilson.

    Interviews and performances with Van Alexander, Louie Bellson, Ray Brown Jr., Richard Gale, Roy Haynes, John Isaacs, Gertrude Jeannette, Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Dr. Muriel Petioni, Brad Rowe, Joe Wilder, and Rev. Edward Wilson.

    The Savoy Ballroom was the home of the Lindy Hop dancers, and the first venue in America where Blacks and Whites could dance and socialize together. Born fatherless and poor in Baltimore, Chick Webb developed childhood spinal tuberculosis and was a hunchbacked dwarf in constant pain, yet he virtually invented modern drumming and built the hottest Swing orchestra of the 1930s - the ‘house band’ of The Savoy Ballroom. Chick was mentored by Duke Ellington, toured with Louis Armstrong, argued with Jelly Roll Morton, jammed with Artie Shaw, discovered and practically adopted Ella Fitzgerald, beat Benny Goodman (with Gene Krupa) and Count Basie (with Billie Holiday) in battle of the bands, befriended Mario Bauzá ("The Father of Afro-Cuban Jazz"), fired Louis Jordan for trying to steal away Ella, 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.

    "This jubilant doc captures Jazz Age excitement.” - Variety

    The Savoy King trailer

    "The Savoy King is a wonderful film – dynamic and true to the spirit of its subject. If Chick Webb's life had been a novel, filmmakers would have lined up to option it. Through genius and a fabled will, Chick became a true titan in American music. In telling this remarkable story of an indispensable man, Jeff Kaufman has made one of the great musical documentaries of our time."

     - Music and film critic Gary Giddins, author of Visions of Jazz, and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award

    "The director weaves an aesthetic tapestry that puts most likeminded non-fiction efforts to shame, so gracefully capturing the atmosphere of the 1930s swing scene that the film truly earns the term ‘immersive.’ It's a comprehensive documentary that never feels like a school lesson, conveying the rollicking spirit of its subject with a liveliness and joy that elucidates how an artist might, as in Chick's case, give everything - including his life - for his art.”

    - The Village Voice

    “I had a ball watching The Savoy King, and laude the filmmakers for the integrity and obvious devotion to presenting a first-class worldview of Chick Webb, our beloved Ella Fitzgerald, and the wonderful world of Harlem past. Kudos to all involved in the making of this masterpiece!"

     - Dee Dee Bridgewater, Grammy and Tony Award winning singer, songwriter, and actress

    “Thoughtful, humorous, and heartfelt. The Savoy King is an excellent film that captures the energy and passion of our music. I loved it!"

    - Terence Blanchard, Grammy-winning musician and composer

    “The Savoy King is a vibrant, evocative tribute to an unsung jazz giant, as seen through the eyes of people who knew and loved him, with an all-star voice cast, and wonderful music. I loved every minute of this film."

    - Leonard Maltin, film critic and historian 

    Director Jeff Kaufman, executive producer Voza Rivers and musician Roy Haynes discuss documentary THE SAVOY KING at the 50th New York Film Festival

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