This is an interesting and moving film about an extraordinarily talented singer and guitarist who had the respect of some of the greatest jazz music legends but who unfortunately never really made it. Jackie Paris toured and performed with the Charlie Parker Quintet, which included Miles Davis. He was a favorite of Charlie Mingus, who wrote ‘Paris In Blue’ for him. He toured with The Lionel Hampton Big Band and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie. He toured with comedian Lenny Bruce. He was named Best New Male Vocalist of the Year in the first Down Beat Critics Poll in 1953. On many occasions, Ella Fitzgerald called Jackie Paris one of her favorite singers. Yet, he never really broke through to the big time. Paris was born in 1924 and died in 2004.
The film has many interesting interviews and comments from a number of family members and associates. Phil Schaap, the noted jazz producer, historian and radio host from WKCR in New York City also is interviewed in the film…
WATCH TRAILER – Tis Autumn – The Search For Jackie Paris
There are a lot of takeaways from the film depending on the lens through which it is viewed. Among them for this writer is the power of a hit song. If only Paris was able to snag a hit single or two in the late 1940’s or 1950’s who knows what might have been. Once the rock and roll era began circa 1954 with artists such as Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, the scene for male and female pop vocalists changed. Without past hits to help fill the seats in the top clubs, it was not enough to simply be a great jazz singer. And it did not get any easier for these type singers when the Beatles hit the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964 as it was clear that rock and roll was here to stay. Certainly there are numerous other factors including just plain good luck, or the lack thereof.
In the mid 1970’s, Jackie Paris performed with his wife Anne Marie Moss. Moss, who died in 2012, was a great singer on her own right. In 1974, the team of Paris & Moss put out an excellent album called Jackie Paris and Anne Marie Moss – Live at the Maisonette.
Raymond De Felitta, an independent film director, screenwriter and jazz musician directed the documentary. ‘Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris won the Best Jazz Documentary at the Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee and was released in 2007 by Outsider Pictures. The film is currently available on DVD. Among director DeFelitta’s other recent credits is the 2016 four-hour mini-series for ABC television called “Madoff” about the Ponzi scheme fraudster Bernard L. Madoff. The movie featured Richard Dreyfuss and Blythe Danner. De Felitta was nominated for a Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies For Television and Mini-Series.
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HIGHLY RECOMMENDED DOCUMENTARY FILM: Tis Autumn The Search For Jackie Paris by Raymond De Felitta
There are very few photos or film or Paris & Moss performing together but ’Tis Autumn’ has one excellent clip of them singing together. Here below is an image taken directly from a TV set (ouch) of an appearance by Jackie Paris and Anne Marie Moss on The Joe Franklin Show in the mid-1970’s. Seating from right to left are: Joe Franklin, Jackie Paris, Anne Marie Moss, radio host Chuck Irving, DJ Art Thomas, and an unidentified guest.