Documentary: Paul Horn

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Don't know much about Paul Horn? The 83-year-old flutist and saxophonist was a pioneer of mystical or New Age jazz in the late 1960s and beyond. But in the early '60s, Horn was straddling traditional jazz and jazz-classical and beginning to nibble at the avant-garde. Reader Peter Campbell in Cairo, Egypt, sent along YouTube links to a fascinating hour-long Horn documentary, The Story of a Jazz Musician (1962).

The film was produced by David L. Wolper [pictured]—an early short-form documentary champion who specialized in packaging tight dramatic stories for television and the shorter attention spans of at-home audiences. A year later in 1963, his documentary based on The Making of the President, 1960 was aired on ABC just after Kennedy's death. Wolper's D-Day June 6, 1944 was considered groundbreaking when it aired in 1962.

In the '70s, Wolper pioneered a new format with even greater success—the mini series. Starting in 1974, Wolper flipped best-selling books into a multiday television extravaganzas. His productions included Lincoln, The Thorn Birds, North and South and Roots. And all of this is just a fraction of Wolper's lifetime of achievement. You'll find more at his official site here. Wolper died in 2010.

For now, a touching look at jazz flutist Paul Horn in 1962, directed by Ed Spiegel...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved.

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