Executive Producer John W. Comerford fashioned Icons Among Us from seven years of interviews with over 75 living jazz artists in high definition and over 25 hours of live performances recorded on super sixteen millimeter film in popular venues across the U.S. and Europe. Presented in four movements, Icons Among Us premiers with A Quiet Revolution," directly challenging perceptions of what jazz is and what it is becoming by examining its innovative new voices as well as their influential forebears. Subsequent movements explore a vast array of topics including the contemporary take on straight ahead and free jazz, the migration of jazz to Europe and jazz's expansion beyond its own boundaries into other musical genres including hip-hop and rock.
Don Q Rum's participation and sponsorship of the documentary series can trace its roots back to a chance meeting 25 years ago at a concert. Roberto Serralles, of the family Destilera Serralls, and John Comerford were introduced by mutual friends who all shared a deep passion for music and the two soon became friends themselves. Serralles, a 6th-generation rum maker, left the family distillery in Puerto Rico and received a doctorate in environmental science at the University of Oregon. Meanwhile, Comerford—a member of the Board of Directors for the Seattle International Film Festival and winner of Italy's Giffoni Film Festival's Rear Window Golden Griffon Prize—went on to pursue his love of filmmaking and music professionally. Through the years the two continued to cross paths and eventually Comerford pitched the idea of a Don Q sponsorship for Icons Among Us. Serralles, having returned to the family distillery to initiate an innovative wastewater to energy project, was also helping develop a marketing strategy for Don Q's penetration into the U.S. marketplace and saw great parallels between the core story within Icons Among Us and the story of Don Q Rum. The Icons project presents a perfect scenario to host the launch of the Don Q brand within the context of an innovative and cutting-edge musical experience.
Founded in 1865 in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Destilera Serralles is a family owned and operated rum distillery that through six generations of master craftsmanship has produced high quality and innovative premium Puerto Rican Rum. Currently, Destilera Serralles, Inc. is a leading manufacturer responsible for producing over half of all the rum sold in the island. Its flagship brand, Don Q, is considered one of the finest rums produced in the world, a reputation validated by numerous accolades received over the years in some of the world's most prestigious spirits competitions.
Icons Among Us will be telecast on The Documentary Channel, the USA's first 24-hour television network exclusively devoted to documentary films and the independent documentary filmmaker, providing viewers with round-the-clock opportunities to see fascinating, eclectic and award-winning documentary films of all lengths and genres. DOC was founded by Oscar- nominated and Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Tom Neff (CEO) in January 2006. DOC now reaches over 21 million homes nationwide via DISH Network (Channel 197) and several broadcast stations in major television markets, including NYC TV (Channel 25) throughout the greater New York metropolitan area. Telecast details can be found at documentarychannel.com.
Icons Among Us: jazz in the present tense A four-part film series sponsored by Don Q Premium Rum in association with Rums of Puerto Rico presented by The Documentary Channel
Production Co.: Paradigm Studio Executive Producer: John W. Comerford Co-Director: Michael Rivoira Co-Director/Cinematographer: Lars Larson Co-Director/Editor: Peter J. Vogt Co-Producer: Theo Ianuly Production Manager/Associate Producer: B. Dahlia Additional Camera Operators: Pete Vogt, John Comerford, Jonathan Houser, Ryan Purcell, James K. Henley, Kyle Carver, Doug Hostedder, Mike Prevett, Trevor Wierson, Audio Recording Engineers: B Dahlia, John Comerford, Michael Rivoira, Chris Chappell, Trevor Wierson, Thomas Bell Lead Editor: Kristian Hill Associate Editor: David Llama Assistant Editor: Kyle Richardson Post Production Services: Modern Digital, Seattle, Washington Sound Designer: Dave Pellicciaro, Lucky Devil Sound Music Supervisor/Tour Consultant: Charles Raggio Graphic Designers: Harold Mullen/Hapnin Design, Laurel Huggins Title design by FAD Transcriber: Andrea Valesko
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.