A trailer has surfaced for the Swing-era feature documentary The Savoy King: Chick Webb & The Music That Changed America, which screens at the New York Film Festival starting this month.
Last month we posted some clips from the upcoming the the New Heritage Theatre Group co-production, directed/produced by Jeff Kaufman and edited by Jamal El-Amin.
Described as “a meditation on the transformative power of art,” Savoy King 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.
The doc, which also tells the story of Ella Fitzgerald, quotes the greatest legends in the history of Jazz, featuring 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.
Born poor in Baltimore, Chick Webb broke his back as a boy and faced life as hunchback dwarf afflicted with Spinal Tuberculosis. Someone suggested drumming as a kind of physical therapy, and Webb found his calling: running off to New York at only 16, he built the hottest jazz orchestra in America, whose home base was Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom, one of the rare places in America where Blacks and Whites could socialize together. The honor roll of artists discovered and mentored by Webb is extraordinary, but perhaps no star shines brighter than that of Ella Fitzgerald. Featuring interviews with those who knew or played with Webb, great period footage, as well as a firm sense of social and cultural history, THE SAVOY KING is a meditation on the transformative power of art as well as a monument to a great American artist.
Watch the trailer below: