Cab Calloway is one of my personal heroes as a bandleader, a dancer and a larger than life personality during the Harlem Rennaissance. While Ellington was smooth and Basie was cool, Calloway was flamboyant, antic, and always entertaining. His fame as an African-American artist broke down color barriers and inspired many , many others up until today.
So I am personally so excited that PBS is airing a new documentary "Cab Calloway: Sketches" that premiered nationally yesterday and hopefully will be playing again and again. From the website:
Emmy-winning filmmaker Gail Levin explores Cab Calloway’s musical beginnings and milestones in the context of the Harlem Renaissance and segregationist America using archival footage, animation based on caricatures by famed illustrator Steve Brodner and French cartoonist Cabu, and interviews. The animated Cab dances alongside Matthew Rushing, choreographer/principal dancer of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Uptown), who explains how modern Calloway’s movements were and his impact on hip-hop. Additional interviewees include Calloway’s daughters Cecelia and Camay; grandson and Cab Calloway Orchestra bandleader Chris “Calloway” Brooks; horn player Gerald Wilson; and The Blues Brothers (1980) director John Landis and band members Steve Cropper, Lou Marini and Donald “Duck” Dunne.
Check your local listings!