Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|'Tis Autumn The Search for Jackie Paris|
Actors: Gene Davis, Harlan Ellison, Joe Franklin, Frank Whaley, Peter Bogdanovich
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
Tis Autumn - The Search for Jackie Paris is more than a documentary film about a great but unhearalded jazz singer - it's also a brutally truthful exploration into what it is to live the life of an artist in its least glam... more »
Dean R. Brierly | Studio City, CA | 05/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
The career arc of Jackie Paris--widely considered one of the greatest jazz singers of all time--is studded with a tragic succession of "what ifs." What if he hadn't turned down an invitation to join Duke Ellington after being the first white vocalist to tour with Lionel Hampton? What if his live performances with Charlie Parker had been recorded and released? And, not least, what if temperament, bad luck and ineffectual representation hadn't conspired to prevent him from grabbing the brass ring and becoming, say, another Tony Bennett? These are some of the intriguing questions that filmmaker Raymond De Felitta pursues in this engrossing, emotionally compelling documentary. De Felitta became obsessed with Paris after hearing him on a Los Angeles radio station. By that time, Paris had dropped so far off the collective cultural radar that a jazz encyclopedia listed him as having died in 1977. Paris' best decade was the 1950s, during which he was the first singer to record the song "Round Midnight," was named Best New Male Vocalist for 1953 by Downbeat magazine, recorded two albums under his own name, and earned accolades from the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Charles Mingus. Yet somehow, mainstream stardom eluded him. Paris also fell victim to changing musical tastes, as the jazz-inflected 1950s made way for the rock-dominated 1960s. Having found Paris living in New York City, De Felitta recorded a number of on-camera interviews with the charismatic singer, and fleshed out his film with archival footage, still photos, audio clips, and interviews with singer Anne Marie Moss (one of Paris' ex-wives), plus musicians Billy Taylor, James Moody, Billy Vera and several others. De Felitta's film not only attempts to answer the question of why Paris never hit it big, but, perhaps more important, explores the very nature of creativity and all the obsessions, good intentions, and personal demons that fuel it. "Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris," is essential viewing for anyone interested in jazz, and in what separates winners and also-rans, not only in music, but in any walk of life."
A revealing look into the mysterious life of Jackie Paris
Ben Frey | Nashville, TN | 04/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is no doubt, upon hearing his voice, that Paris was one of the best jazz singers in history. The question then becomes: Why doesn't anyone know his name?
"Tis Autumn" delves headfirst into this question, providing viewers with a glimpse into a life which is in turns impossibly beautiful and disturbingly mundane. This is the story of a great man whose flaws and bad choices did as much to make his career as his humanity and integrity did to ruin it. The same man who was unwilling to "sell out" for greater fame is also unwilling even at his deathbed to acknowledge his oldest son's existence.
I'm left with a feeling that maybe it would have been better for Paris to have died in the 1970s as various sources claimed was the case. Not better for Jackie himself, obviously, but for his legacy, such as it is. Then again, if he hadn't tried a comeback in the last weeks of his life, this film would never have been made, and we would not have been granted a glimpse into this unlikely life.
Technically, the documentary is very well done. Excellent pacing and storytelling. The film maker is not afraid to ask tough questions and seek out less-than-willing family members to interview. He does not gloss over the negatives, which would have been easy to do: The soundtrack to this film is superb. Paris' voice was just as good at 78 as it had been at 28, if not better. The scenes from the "comeback" concerts are moving.
Several days after watching "Tis Autumn," I catch myself humming along to one tune or another from the film. That's just as well, because it would be a shame to forget Jackie Paris now that I've discovered him."