Bmakin film - Ben Makinen
JazzTown - Now Available on AppleTV+ (4k), Amazon Prime, Google Play, and Vudu (4K) and on Vimeo - JazzTown is the award-winning music documentary by Executive Producer and Director Ben Makinen hailed as, “the best music documentary to have come out of Colorado - ever!”
JazzTown is a cinematic deep dive into the essence of jazz through never before seen performances and candid interviews with Grammy winning vocalist Dianne Reeves, international recording artist Ron Miles, guitarist Charlie Hunter, session singer Ayo Awosika (Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Wakanda Forever) and legendary 103 year old bassist Charles Burrell (Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughan…) and a special appearance by then Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper who is currently a US Senator.
Executive Producer/Director Ben Makinen has released the action-packed short film Who Killed Jazz in reaction to petitions from jazz musicians to have a film made illuminating the opressive socio-economic forces keeping working musicians at the poverty level.
Denver’s iconic and Grammy Award-winning musicians reveal the secrets of their success and longevity in the music business while warning the young lions to whom they pass the torch to stay relevant in a marketplace both treacherous and brutal.
The majestic Rocky Mountains tower over a bustling metropolis filled with steamy and romantic nightclubs where jazz flourishes on stage. JazzTown features never seen before live concert footage on historic stages that have now crumbled due to economic stresses of the Covid Pandemic. Tragically, more than a few of the stellar musicians featured in JazzTown have died during the making of this movie. Their stories and their passion and their wisdom live on to entertain and inspire the next generation.
American drummer and filmmaker Ben Makinen made JazzTown as a way to say thank you to his early mentors in jazz and to preserve their stories. As their colorful and star-studded histories came to light Makinen realized the importance of broadening the scope of the film to include the young lions whose careers they helped to shape.
JazzTown, a feature length documentary, written, directed and produced by jazz drummer Ben Makinen, explores the many different voices in Denver's jazz scene and pays homage to his early mentors who played with jazz icons Duke Ellington, Billie Holliday, Charlie Parker , Sonny Rollins, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Max Roach and more!
Makinen found it necessary to sell nearly everything he owned - his drums, his studio recording gear, his car and finally his home - to complete and distribute JazzTown. His new apartment roof leaked storm water onto his desk shorting out a hard drive with early edits of JazzTown. Thieves then broke into his apartment and stole all of the film gear he owned but miraculously left his hard drives containing JazzTown on his desk! This film exists only due the oversight of some very kind guardian angles.
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