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New Documentary from Bret Primack: Passing the Torch featuring Jimmy Heath

Jazzed Magazine • News • June 2, 2016

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Jimmy Heath

Jimmy Heath

Bret “Jazz Video Guy” Primack, has started production on a new film, Passing the Torch.  The crowdfunded documentary is a celebration of the sharing of creativity and knowledge from one generation to another featuring the tenor saxophonist and composer, Jimmy Heath, who turns ninety this October, and the Tucson Jazz Institute Ellington band, composed of high school instrumentalists. 

This past January, Mr. Heath and the TJI’s premiere big band opened the Tucson Jazz Festival and something magical happened between the master musician and these young students.  Doug Tidaback, an educator who runs the TJI along with bassist Scott Black and saxophonist Brice Winston, felt that the vibe between Jimmy Heath and his students was so strong that he invited the Jazz legend back to record with the Ellington band, which has won a number of Essentially Ellington competitions at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

When filmmaker Bret Primack, a fifteen-year resident of Tucson, learned of the recording, he decided to document the proceedings.  “I was at the January concert and what happened between Jimmy and those kids came as no surprise.  I’ve known Jimmy since 1978 and in addition to being a superb tenor saxophonist and composer, he has a gentle, humorous, non-threatening approach to teaching that always produces memorable results. I didn’t plan it, but this will be my second film featuring a ninety-year old musician,” Primack reports.  My first documentary feature Taking Charge, featured famed big band lead trumpeter, Pauly Cohen.  I figure, if these guys are still doing it at ninety, there’s hope for me yet.”

To help fund the film:

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