Christopher Braig's 2019 New York Jazz Film Festival award winning film Jimmy McGary The Best Jazz You Never Heard tells the story of a 20th Century American Master. Jimmy McGary (1926-1993) was a force of nature on the tenor saxophone. Often called "daddy jazz" by those around him he was regarded as the center of jazz saxophone in the region for decades.
The film features interviews with fifteen time Grammy nominee Fred Hersch, Count Basie bassist Lynn Seaton, saxophonist Rick VanMatre, and many legendary Cincinnati based jazz musicians who played with McGary. Christopher Braig traveled 25,000 miles and for more than a year filming in New York City, Cincinnati, Louisville, Washington DC and Boston.
Jimmy's influence continues even as his recordings have gone virtually unheard for decades. The film contains more than a dozen rare recordings spanning the years 1968 to 1987. All but two recordings were retrieved from radio broadcasts of live performances and rapidly decaying amateur reel to reel and cassette tapes.
This is the story of a much neglected artist and intellectual who lived a difficult life at times but overcame his struggles to leave a lasting legacy as an artist, mentor and father. Jimmy McGary remains one of the most beloved figures in Cincinnati music history to this very day.
The Film, Collected Recordings, Complete Interviews, and Artifacts are archived at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Imagine an A.M. radio station broadcasting jazz, blues and comedy records from sunrise to sunset while floating in the Ohio River. From 1962 to 2000 the Vontz family brought this gift to the people of Greater Cincinnati and changed the director's life forever. Welcome to thirty minutes of "The Act of Radio".