Body and Soul: An American Bridge
Presented in collaboration with the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center
Out of all the cross-cultural encounters that have resulted in the richness of American popular music, no one has been so prominent or so fraught with fraternity and conflict as the relationships between African Americans and American Jews. Body and Soul: An American Bridge aims to tease out the strands of this cultural knot by focusing on the early performance history of the jazz standard, “Body and Soul.”
In director Robert Philipson’s first feature-length documentary, we develop a better understanding of how one of the most recorded songs in the jazz repertoire came to fruition. Composed by the Jewish composer Johnny Green in 1929, the song was introduced on Broadway by torch singer Libby Holman and ushered into the jazz canon by Louis Armstrong the following year. Four years later, the successful recording of “Body and Soul” by the Benny Goodman trio, which included black pianist Teddy Wilson, led to the historic smashing of the color barrier in popular music. Hosted by the Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Festival.
DOCUMENTARY, USA, 2017
DIRECTED BY ROBERT PHILIPSON
RUNNING TIME: 58 MINS