Among modern jazz enthusiasts, Kahil
El’Zabar is known as jazz music’s “best kept secret.” Unique and
totally someone who moves to the beat of different drummer, El’Zabar is world renowned as a true innovator, a teacher and one of the truly original
voices and presences in jazz music and has been for decades.
However he’s also human. In fact, rather too human, and who leads… how say we say… a rather complicated
and messy life off the stage. Now filmmaker and screenwriter Dwayne Johnson-Cochran, who is a long time boyhood friend of El’Zabar,
has made a remarkable, penetrating “warts
and all” documentary of the jazz great called Be Known.
Not only is the film a riveting portrait chronicling the day-by-day, gig–to-gig struggle and
harried life of a working musician, it’s also a portrait of the sometimes comic and sometimes
downright insulting indignities that comes with the job.
But the film also reveals the perspective of a very complicated person – a teacher and a rascal,
a brilliant charismatic musician who is deeply flawed and yet strangely fascinating at the same time.
Now the film will have a special premiere before it hits
the film festival circuit, at the Gene Siskel Film Center in downtown Chicago next month, on Friday, January 24, Saturday January 25th and Monday, January 27th.
And even more special, both filmmaker Johnson-Cochran and Kahil
El’Zabar himself will be present for all the screenings.
Take a peep at the trailer: