SHOWING AT THE NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL

The Savoy King: Chick Webb and the Music That Changed America has been selected for 50th annual The New York Film Festival!

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The Savoy King will screen on Saturday, September 29th (noon) at the Walter Reade Theater (165 West 65th Street on the north side between Broadway & Amsterdam, upper level;) and on Tuesday October 2nd (3:30) Francesca Beale Theater (144 West 65th Street on the south side between Broadway & Amsterdam).

GET TICKETS NOW!

Saturday, September 29: 12:00 pm at Walter Reade Theater

Tuesday, October 02: 3:30 pm at Francesca Beale Theater

Series: NYFF50: On the Arts

For more information, please contact:
Mickey Cottrell, inclusive PR
323-460-4111
Mickey@inclusivepr.com
6646 Hollywood Blvd #205
Hollywood, Ca 90028
c. 323.855.6538

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GIANTS COME IN ALL SIZES

“If Chick Webb’s story 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, The Savoy King promises to be one of the great musical documentaries of our time.”
~Jazz & Film Critic, Gary Giddins

The Savoy Ballroom was the home of the amazing Lindy Hop dancers, and the first venue in America where Blacks and Whites could dance and socialize together. It had a huge, but largely unheralded social impact. Born fatherless and poor, Chick Webb broke his back, developed spinal tuberculosis, and was a hunchbacked dwarf in constant pain, yet he virtually invented modern drumming and built the hottest band of the 1930s (it was the Savoy Ballroom’s “house band”). Chick was mentored by Duke Ellington, toured with Louis Armstrong, argued with Jelly Roll Morton, jammed with Artie Shaw, married a beautiful dancer, discovered and practically adopted Ella Fitzgerald, beat Benny Goodman and Count Basie in legendary battle of the bands, befriended Mario Bauzá (“The Father of Afro-Cuban Jazz”), groomed and then fired Louis Jordan (the founder of Rhythm & Blues), 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.
Chick Webb 1935
Chick’s brief, inspiring life illuminates the society-changing power of music, the life-lifting effect of mentoring, a hard-fought breakthrough in racial understanding that reverberates today in many ways, and the ability of everyone (with or without disabilities) to reach beyond their apparent limits.

FEATURING THE VOICES OF:
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as Dizzy Gillespie
  • New Orleans musician Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes as Barney Bigard
  • Rocky Carroll as Narrator
  • Bill Cosby as Chick Webb
  • Billy Crystal as Mezz Mezzrow
  • Tyne Daly as Jazz publicist Helen Oakley Dance
  • Keith David as The Savoy Ballroom’s Manager, Charles Buchanan
  • Andy Garcia as Mario Bauzá
  • Danny Glover as Count Basie
  • Jeff Goldblum as Artie Shaw
  • Janet Jackson as Ella Fitzgerald
  • John Legend as Duke Ellington
  • Ron Perlman as Gene Krupa
  • Voza Rivers as Sandy Williams
  • Washington Post Columnist, Eugene Robinson as Teddy McRae
  • Rolling Stones Drummer, Charlie Watts as Jazz Journalist, Stanley Dance

NEWLY FILMED INTERVIEWS!

Drumming legend Louie Bellson (with his last filmed drum performance), drumming great Roy Haynes (among other things, he does a charming scat version of A-Tisket, A-Tasket), trumpeter / NEA Jazz Master Joe Wilder, playwright-actress Gertrude Jeannette, Swing dance masters Frankie Manning and Norma Miller, Harlem Rens basketball star John Issacs, composer-arranger Van Alexander, longtime Harlem physician Dr. Muriel Petioni, childhood friend Rev. Edward Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald’s son Ray Brown Jr., the son of the Savoy Ballroom’s owner – Dr. Rchard Gale, and Chick’s jazz-loving nephew Brad Rowe.

Stay tuned to learn more about the story of the Savoy Ballroom & its King, Chick Webb. Chick Webb (1905-1939) was one of the greatest jazzband leaders & drummers of the 1930s.

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VIDEO: ELLA’S STORY

In this vignette about Ella Fitzgerald, we learn about her early career and the formative relationship she had with Chick Webb, who played the role of mentor and guardian, as well as bandleader. Using archival footage, new interviews, the words of those who knew her, as well as her own words, this clip gives you a glimpse into the early years of Ella’s career and the people who helped shape it.

NEW INTERVIEWS FEATURING:

FEATURING STORIES ABOUT:

  • Meeting Bardou Ali
  • Ella’s Debut at Amateur Night at the Apollo
  • Chick’s Wife, Sallye Webb
  • How Chick Mentored Ella
  • Ella’s brief romance with Louis Jordon, and More!

FEATURING THE VOICES OF:

  • Bill Cosby as Chick Webb
  • Tyne Daly as Jazz publicist Helen Oakley Dance
  • Andy Garcia as Mario Bauzá

Ella and Chick
THE SAVOY KING is a feature documentary from Floating World Pictures about the Swing-era drummer-bandleader Chick Webb, Ella Fitzgerald, and Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom.

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VIDEO: CHICK WEBB ON THE DRUMS

Chick Webb on DrumsIn this brief introduction to Chick Webb, we learn about Chick’s contribution to the art of drumming, using the words of Artie Shaw, Gene Krupa, Duke Ellington and Helen Oakley Dance, as well as new interviews with Roy Haynes and Norma Miller.

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VIDEO: FRANKIE MANNING

FRANKIE MANNING (1914-2009)

Frankie Manning was a swing-era dance pioneer, who became a master of the Lindy Hop and ultimately revolutionized it with his innovations, including the lindy air step and synchronized ensemble lindy routine.

He began his career in the 1930s in Harlem, as one of the featured dancers at the Savoy Ballroom, and was soon hired as a contract dancer at the famed Cotton Club. He was friends with some of the greatest jazz musicians and singers, including Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Webb, Duke Ellington and Count Basie.

Manning was also a charter member of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, a dance performance team that performed all over and in movies, like Hellzapoppin’ (1941). His dancing brilliance took him on tours of Europe, New Zealand and Australia.


Frankie Manning and Ann Johnson in 1941

Frankie Manning & Ann Johnson in 1941

Frankie Manning was interviewed shortly before his death for the film THE SAVOY KING. We are grateful to have some wonderful footage of him to include in the final picture.
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SAVOY KING FILM WORLD PREMIERE

Please come see the world premiere of THE SAVOY KING: CHICK WEBB AND THE MUSIC THAT CHANGED AMERICA at the 38th annual Seattle International Film Festival, Saturday, June 9 at 6:00 pm, and Sunday, June 10 at 3:00 pm (both screenings at the Harvard Exit Theater). Featuring the voices of Bill Cosby, Janet Jackson, Billy Crystal, Andy Garcia, John Legend, and Jeff Goldblum, among others, The Savoy King brings alive one of the most remarkable untold stories in music history. Film critic Leonard Maltin wrote, “The Savoy King is vibrant and evocative . . . I loved every minute.”

For more information, please contact:
Mickey Cottrell, inclusive PR
323-460-4111
Mickey@inclusivepr.com
6646 Hollywood Blvd #205
Hollywood, Ca 90028
c. 323.855.6538

TOPICS:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,