In February of this year, the jazz world lost one of its most prominent advocates. Ira Gitler, the pioneering author and concert promoter, left us on February 23, 2019. Gitler had a front row seat to the evolution of jazz for over six decades. Fostering a lifetime of jazz advocacy for the art of jazz and for the musicians
Filmmaker Bret Primack, known for his Jazz Video Guy YouTube Channel, uses a 2009 interview as a foundation for creating a new documentary on the life of Ira Gitler. Adding recent interviews with colleagues Todd Barkan, Randy Brecker, Michael Cuscuna, Jim Eigo, Terry Gibbs, Jeff Levenson, Howard Mandel, Dan Morgenstern, and Loren Schoenberg. The result in a new 30-minute documentary entitled, Ira Gitler Lives!
Primack’s description of the documentary includes the following:
As a witness and participant in the creation of Bebop, and Prestige Records, the film includes Ira discussing four classic sessions: “Zoot Swings The Blues,” when Zoot Sims’ tenor solo broke the time limit on recordings; “Soultrane,” where Ira coined the phrase “sheets of sound,” to describe John Coltrane’s playing in the liner notes; Sonny Rollins debut recording session and Ira’s maiden voyage as a producer; and, the historic Miles Davis recording session that included Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins.
“I first learned about Jazz and Ira reading his DownBeat articles and liner notes,” Primack explains. “When I starting writing myself I met Ira, who quickly became a mentor and inspiration. I made this film to reveal who Ira was, as a man, in addition to his work.”
The documentary video is available below for viewing. Bret Primack plans on submitting and presenting the film at Jazz and film festivals later this year.