The release of "Mr. Handy's Blues" will mark the first time the story of 'The Father of the Blues' has been documented on film. Handy is credited with transforming African-American folk music that was handed down only through oral tradition into a purely American genre of music. Against all odds Handy forged a successful career in the post Civil War south, becoming a reknown bandleader, composer, and entrepreneur. He was the first African American to publish his own music, and in 1914 he wrote ST. LOUIS BLUES, which was the most recorded song in the first half of the 20th century. He began his career as a minstrel, and ended it as a revered visionary who brought the Blues into mainstream society and commercial viability.
Handy's life is full of family drama, racial conflict, and redemption. It moves from Florence, Alabama to the Mississippi Delta to Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. He moved to New York City and opened the first black-owned entertainment business on Broadway; and provided songs for myriad popular artists of the day, and musical theater. He is an American treasure, and we're committed to preserving his story for generations to come.
We are presenting insights into Handy's life and times through interviews with musical luminaries like Taj Mahal and Bobby Rush, as well as historians and musicologists. Our film will feature performances of Handy's songs by current artists who are direct decendants of his musical legacy.
~~Emmy award winning Producer/Director Joanne Fish is heading up the project.