P.O. Box 5957 Pittsburgh, PA 15210
The August Wilson Center
Building on a Legacy
Wendell G. Freeland
A Silent Soldier
Rodger Humphries Pass it On
Rodger Humphries: "Pass it On” is a half-hour documentary on this legendary jazz drummer and music educator. Pass it On showcases Rodger’s formidable talents as a musician and musical group leader, his skills as a teacher, and his inspirational dedication to his family, students, colleagues, and community.
Rodger is known and respected among jazz fans and musicians worldwide. "Discovered" by other musicians in the family when he was only three years old, at four Rodger was sitting in with the Tab Smith Big Band, where his Uncle Frank Humphries played. At 14 he was playing professionally, and at 16 led his own group at Carnegie Music Hall. He has played, toured, and recorded for more than 50 years with such jazz greats as Ray Charles and Horace Silver and his own RH Factor quartet and Rodger Humphries Big Band.
Equally important, and less known than his discography of more than 20 albums, is Rodger’s personal legacy.
His talent has taken him around the world, but he has always maintained his connections to family and Pittsburgh, finding his deepest satisfaction in the successes of his students.
His story is told in the words of those former students as well as interviews with family, friends, and other professional musicians, artfully interwoven with music footage both new and old, and Rodger’s own communication in concert and classroom.
Wendell G. Freeland A Silent Soldier
Tuskegee Airman. Civil Rights attorney.
Powerful advocate for the poor and disenfranchised. Wendell Freeland devoted seventy years to fighting injustice wherever he found it, from the age of Jim Crow to that of Barack Obama. He blazed a trail for racial equality by working largely behind the scenes
in America’s courtrooms, boardrooms, and political backrooms.
The half hour documentary “Wendell Freeland:
A Silent Soldier” will tell the story of a complex and courageous man, whose long career helped shape
an era of historic change. A brilliant lawyer and strategist who served as president of the Urban
League of Greater Pittsburgh and founding president of Allegheny County’s Neighborhood Legal Services Association, he mentored generations of black lawyers to carry on the struggle. Among his famous firsts
was a case against the City of Pittsburgh ending segregated public swimming pools.
At college, in the Army during World War II (when he was twice arrested for disobeying racist orders),
throughout the Civil Rights movement, and later, as chair of several Washington, DC institutions, Freeland continued to fight socio-economic and political battles for equal access and participation.
His story is told in his own words and in interviews with family, friends, professional associates and
colleagues, set against a backdrop of photographs and archival footage from the times in which he lived
and worked for justice.
The August Wilson Center Building on a Legacy
This video documents the development of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, which opened in downtown Pittsburgh in September 2009.
The half hour digital video traces important elements of the Center from concept to completion. The centerpiece is time-lapse footage of the Center’s construction from the ground up, culminating with
the ascent of the ship’s prow--an architectural design element symbolizing pride and forward motion.
Interwoven with this footage are interviews with the organizers who helped to create the Center and with family, friends and contemporaries who knew August Wilson and deeply understand the essence of his plays and his significance in Pittsburgh and the world. Also showcased are performances and exhibits that have been mounted in an ongoing effort to develop a presence and patronage for the Center. These represent many of the art forms, and both local and national talent, included in the Center’s programming.
More than just the story of one Center, Building On A Legacy offers an example that emphasizes the importance of all such institutions to local and national culture and the uncertainties they face. The interviews and events are supported by music and archival film and Teenie Harris photographs from more than six decades in Pittsburgh history, August’s personal and professional story, and the Center’s development. Original music and narration by Charles “Rock” Dutton weave together this seamless presentation.
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Gary Bartz Pure and Simple
This will be a half-hour documentary on a saxophonist who has maintained the cultural continuity of “The Music” through his devotion to Charlie Parker, one of the most important jazz musicians in history, and to “old school” jazz, while becoming a legend in his own right.
Shot during a time span of over sixteen years, this project will offer an intimate window on the arc of a musician’s career and of a music genre.
This Grammy winning musician, with 30 recordings as leader and more than 100 as a guest artist, started his studies at Juilliard at 17. While still in his early twenties, Bartz worked with Max Roach, and later with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, McCoy Tyner, and Miles Davis, among many others. By the late 1960s, he was fronting his own band, NTU Troop, and by the late 70s he was also working in a Los Angeles studio. Fans and reviewers rave about his discography, which includes concept albums some call “decades ahead of their time.”
Pure and Simple will be condensed from more than 80 hours of coverage ranging from “reality” films of family
life to interviews with family and band members, and Bartz himself, and footage of numerous performances in the U.S. and Paris.
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Preview Video soon to be released.