Bret Wood's Efforts and Exploits

An updated guide to film and DVD work.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bruce Ricker, RIP



I just found out today about the death of Bruce Ricker, who was a good friend, a trusted colleague, and a talented filmaker. He died on Friday, May 13 at the age of 68.

His first feature film, The Last of the Blue Devils was a documentary on the reunion of Kansas City jazz greats Big Joe Turner, Jay McShann and Count Basie. It won the attention of jazz aficionado Clint Eastwood, who became Bruce's patron in later years, facilitating the production and release of such films as Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser, Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends and Johnny Mercer: The Dream's on Me.


Bruce Ricker, Tony Bennett, Clint Eastwood. Photo by Adam Rose @ globerunnerphotography.com

Bruce's last film, Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way was, in my opinion, his best. It not only presents an emotionally moving portrait of Brubeck, but captures some of the essence of jazz, even as it speaks intelligently about music theory and construction. Even though the film aired on TCM in December 2010, Warner Bros. has been sitting on the DVD release. Hopefully they will finally release it, because no filmmaker could hope for a more poignant epitaph.

I will miss his advice, his wry observations about the music/film scenes, and the use of his pad on Charlton Street when I was too poor to afford a hotel in New York.



Here's a link to a more detailed obit, which I wrote for TCM's "Movie Morlocks" blog site.

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