NEWS: Geordie Jazz Man @ Tyneside Cinema | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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At one point it was a North East music scene rite of passage to have been forcibly served a burger alongside a late-night drink by Keith Crombie at the Jazz Café, whether you wanted one or not. The endearingly gruff proprietor was a local legend and, as a new film based on his life by filmmaker (and goddaughter) Abi Lewis testifies, also an enigmatic mystery.

Abi began work on the documentary before Keith’s passing in 2012. “I was driven to make the film as, like Keith himself, the Jazz Cafe was becoming old and worn, and my gut feeling told me it was time someone documented Keith and the history of the venue before it wa too late. What I didn’t quite expect when making this film was to unearth so much more about Keith’s character and lively past, which placed him right at the heart of one of the most exciting periods in musical history in the North East of England.”

At the epicentre of the city’s jazz scene, Keith consorted with musicians, thespians and stars alike; he went to school with two of the Shadows, had dealings with the Krays, worked as a getaway driver and chose to book the Rolling Stones over the Beatles. The film hears from those who worked and socialised with him, from The Animals’ Eric Burdon to film director and musician Mike Figgis and jazz musician Wynton Marsalis.

After touring international film festivals, and winning the 2017 Jury Prize for Best International Short at NorthWestFest, Geordie Jazz Man will get its debut Newcastle screening at Tyneside Cinema on Friday 27th July, accompanied by a Q&A with Abi and special guests, plus live music, all of which will celebrate the legacy of a true North East music icon.

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