"All by Myself: The Eartha Kitt Story," Christian Blackwood's profile of the singer. Host Martin Sheen says Blackwood "found a woman alone---not lonely, but alone." Included: Kitt talks about her life and career, and is seen in performance.
A jazz bill is highlighted by Don McGlynn's "Art Pepper: Notes from a Jazz Survivor," a 1982 profile of the alto saxophonist (1926-82) that blends his music (including "Our Song") and comments on his life. Also: George Griffin's animated interpretation of "Ko Ko," performed by sax legend Charlie Parker (1920-55); a 1965 performance by Earl "Fatha" Hines (1905-83).
"Mary Lou Williams: Music on My Mind" profiles the jazz pianist-composer-arranger (1910-81) whose music, Duke Ellington said, "maintains a quality of timelessness. She is like soul on soul." Included: clips of Williams performing and teaching; comments by Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Tate and others. Host: Martin Sheen.
"In Heaven There Is No Beer?" a jubilant celebration of the polka; and an excerpt from "Live and Remember," in which Lakota dancer-drummer Ben Black Bear Sr. performs. Also: the animated "Sing Beast Sing," with Willie Mabon singing "I'm Mad."
Carlos Ortiz' "Machito: A Latin Jazz Legacy," a profile of orchestra leader Machito-Frank Grillo that interweaves interviews and performance clips (including "Tanga," "Carambola" and "Cuban Fantasy"). Also: "Ear to the Ground" shows percussionist David Van Tieghem in lower Manhattan.
A portrait of jazz artist Charles Mingus, whom host Martin Sheen calls "a composer, a brilliant bass player and a poet." Included: Mingus in performance and in his Manhattan studio. Filmed by Thomas Reichman in November 1966.
"Gotta Make This Journey," a profile of the female a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock. Members discuss the activism in their music and are seen performing "Biko," "Ella's Song," "We'll Understand it Better Bye and Bye" and other selections.
"The Uncle Dave Macon Program" profiles the legendary singer (1870-1952) who, host Martin Sheen says, linked "rural folk music of the 19th century and modern country music." Roy Acuff and Pete Seeger comment. Also: the animated "Wagon Ho!!!"
Films on avant-garde music include "Lou Harrison," a "loving portrait" of the composer, performer and instrument builder. Composers John Cage and Virgil Thomson comment. Also: animated shorts featuring the music of Philip Glass, Ned Rorem and others.
"Sometimes music has an ax to grind," says Martin Sheen, prefacing films about music that was written to hone the American conscience. Included: "Dreadful Memories," a profile of Appalachian folk singer Sarah Ogan Gunning (1910-83) by Mimi Pickering; "Talk About the Passion," by Jem Cohen; "Machine Song," by Chel White; "Yuppie Rap," by Bill O'Neil.
"Life itself is the blues," says the legendary B.B. King in Bill Ferris's 1975 film "Give My Poor Heart Ease," the first of three works that define the flavor and feeling of the blues in its diverse forms. Also: "Big City Blues" by St.Clair Bourne; and Les Blank's "The Sun's Gonna Shine," featuring guitarist-singer Lightnin' Hopkins.