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Raymond De Felitta
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"'Tis Autumn: The Search For Jackie Paris" is a feature documentary about a great but unheralded jazz singer that explores the very nature of what it is to live the life of an artist--any artist. Filmmaker Raymond De Felitta examines the life of cult favorite jazz singer Jackie Paris, but at the same time he might well be exploring the life of any artist in any discipline, too many of whom share the same fate that Paris did: the explosive debut followed by the years of ups and downs; the constant hope that success, though out of reach, is around the corner; the private tragedies that grow out of artistic frustration; and the final, self-inflicted wounds which all too often cause the once promising to descend into bitterness and chaos, a prelude to vanishing completely. Working with rare found footage and new interviews with jazz legends such as Billy Taylor, George Wein, Mark Murphy and Ruth Price, as well as the final concert footage and last interviews Jackie Paris ever gave -- De ... Written by
Hangover Lounge, Inc.
Moving portrait of a little-known yet influential artist
Some people get it, and some people don't. As well as being the highly entertaining and interesting story of the filmmaker's discovery of and search for his intriguing subject, this film is an honest, unsparing, and very moving portrait of Jackie Paris, delving into the man's career and personal history -- which were unfairly and inaccurately described in the previous review. It reveals a soulful human being (no more flawed than we all are) who is an important and overlooked figure in the history of jazz, and a favorite singer of many, including Charlie Parker, Frank Sinatra, and Lenny Bruce (with whom he toured as the opening act). It's structured in a postmodern, somewhat improvisational style, like jazz itself -- with some mystery, too. Paris was an original -- a stylistic singer, and also a great guitarist and tap dancer -- respected and admired by those in the know. In fact, his influence is still strong, detectable in many singers, and not only in the jazz idiom. Many important musical figures are interviewed in the film, as well as family and friends, old and new. In addition, the extra commentary track version is very much worth checking out for further interesting background information. The other extras, too, are worthwhile, especially the club performance of Paris singing a big hit from his earlier career, "'Tis Autumn" -- it sums up a man's life in its Autumn, and is by itself worth the price of admission. Overall, a positive and successful work about a positive and ultimately successful man, notwithstanding any missteps along the way.
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