January 1, 2004
This film is a window on the world of a unique group of musicians who perform as the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band. Put together in 1973 by Al Volmer, an orthodontist and amateur jazz musician, the group gives aging musicians -- veterans of the big bands of the '20s and '30s -- an opportunity for to perform together. Having worked with some of the most recognizable figures in music history, including Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Billie Holliday and Frank Sinatra, they are legends in their own right. With some of band members in their 90s, they boast a motto that "retirement can kill you." Their dedication to their craft is extraordinary, and they spare no energy in trying to rustle up gigs, whether they are performing on their own doorsteps or touring Mexico, Sweden or Russia. Anja Baron's moving documentary follows the band on these tours, introducing us to these amazing characters as they indulge in their true love of jazz and blues, casually creating some hauntingly beautiful music.