Archive for the ‘Shiny Stockings Production/Publicity Updates’ Category

Concert on March 27th To honor Frank Foster Will Benefit “Shiny Stockings”

Every now and then you get some priceless encouragement just when you’ve been wondering if you are out of your mind. I had that happen to me a few weeks back when I got an email from Todd Woodson, drummer and board member of the Central Virginia Jazz Orchestra. (CVJO) Todd had read a blog post I did a while back on Marc Myers blog JazzWax.

Frank is honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Richmond Jazz Society

The article brought a lot of kudos for my work on the film and creating a happy ending for its subject, Frank Foster. I received several congratulatory notes that meant a lot to me and certainly made me feel great. I even got a check for $50 from a reader in Michigan.

I never wanted to be one of those “Independent Filmmakers” pleading for finishing money, Perhaps I was a bit naive and optimistic when I embarked on this adventure. Then again, I may not have started or gotten as far as I have had I not been both naive and optimistic.  However, the truth be told, I’ve invested an awful lot of my own money into making this film to date. I knew it was a gamble and I recall telling a pessimistic (realistic?) friend that I knew my faith would be tested. I had been given an A-list of people that would presumably kick in some dough and use their entertainment connections to promote the film if I put together a great demo. That was all I needed. I dove headlong into the project as the economy collapsed and funds that may have been available somehow dried up as even the wealthy tightened their belt buckles. The wind to fill my sails has yet to materialize.

I didn’t give up. I still haven’t. And now, thanks to the generosity of the Jazz Orchestra in Richmond, and their dedication to their art and their appreciation of what Frank Foster has done for that art and, of all things, my efforts to bring his story to light, I have a new boost both spiritually and financially. On March 27th The CVJO will perform a benefit concert and tribute to Dr. Frank Foster. Thanks one and all, especially Frank and Cecilia Foster. I was told that the orchestra originally wanted to split the proceeds between the film expenses and the Fosters. They said, “No, give it all to Brian, he deserves the support”.

I had mixed feelings about that. I spoke to Cecilia on the phone and told her I didn’t think that was right, that it’s Frank’s work that created the opportunity and I feel a bit odd having a benefit done for my film. She said “Brian, you’ve done so much for us and put so much work into this thing. Your making a movie about Frank has done so much for his spirit, and now it has to get finished and shown and it will do more good that way than any money from this concert could.

Now THAT’s encouragement!

Please read the Article in the Richmond Times Herald

WBGO Journal Spotlights “Shiny Stockings”

I was recently interviewed by Doug Doyle of WBGO Jazz88 for the WBGO Journal.

Listen to the interview on the Archive page available here:
WBGO Journal July 9th 2010

Final Triumphant Scene of “Shiny Stockings” is Captured

A series of Stills from the final scene of Jazz Legacy Film's "Shiny Stockings"

We recently shot the final scene of the film in a hotel room in Newark NJ when Frank and Cecilia Foster were in town for the Hank Jones Memorial service.

The ”Happy Ending” was captured when Frank signed a termination notice which will set in motion his reclamation of the title song and a few other compositions of the same era. The Community Law Clinic of Rutgers School of Law- Newark has been working on the process that will allow Frank to republish his signature tune under his own publishing company in the near future, resulting in his receiving 100% of his royalties directly.

See NPR’s blog entry on the subject.

On the saddest note possible I was driving away from Newark, headed to a friend’s house when I got a call from Bill Saxton, one of Frank’s protoges.

“Did you hear about Benny?”

Trombonist Benny Powell was in the hospital for back surgery and I had spoken to him the night before. He was in good spirits, his back was feeling better than it had in 2 years. I thought Bill may have just found out he was in the hospital and was worried about him. He knew I was good friends with him because the last time I saw Bill just 2 weeks earlier I cut our conversation short because I had to pick Benny up and take him to his gig at the Lenox Lounge.

“Benny’s cool, I spoke to him last night. He’s in the hospital but he’s recovering and he’ll be out in a few days” I said.

Bill sighed. “Something happened early this morning brother, Benny’s gone”.

I pulled over to the side of the road and cried like a baby.

Frank Foster Takes Back his Shiny Stockings

Press Release June 26th, 2010-Please share!

Frank and Cecilia Foster with Filmmaker Brian Grady

Composer and arranger Frank Foster, who penned one of the Count Basie Band’s most popular tunes, “Shiny Stockings,” has initiated a contract termination process with the help of faculty and students in the Community law Clinic at Rutgers School of Law–Newark. The Clinic, under the supervision of intellectual property rights attorney Clinical Professor John Kettle, has sent notice on Foster’s behalf to the current holder of copyright that Mr. Foster will be exercising his rights in accordance with a little known provision of The Copyright Act of 1976.

As a young composer, to have a piece of music you’ve written appear on a recording by a well known bandleader in return for a small share of the residuals is very appealing. Often a young artist will sign a poorly negotiated contract without understanding the long-term ramifications. A song like “Shiny Stockings” becomes part of a catalogue of songs that are “owned” by a publishing company that can be bought and sold as an investment. Eventually, parties that had nothing to do with the creation of a work can collect the lion’s share of royalties and license fees throughout the life of the property. “Shiny Stockings”, considered an “evergreen” property has been recorded hundreds of times over the years and continues to be used in films and television shows. This represents significant potential earnings. The Copyright Act of 1976 provides for the opportunity for authors and composers to terminate prior agreements regarding the use of or transfer of rights of a copyrighted work.

A young Frank Foster at a recording session with Sarah Vaughan circa 1957

Having had a long career of recording and touring and recognized by his peers as one of the greatest Tenor Saxophonists of all time, Mr. Foster suffered a stroke in 2001 that left him partially paralyzed and unable to play his instruments. Mr. Foster’s economic situation grew bleak in the years following his stroke as reported in an interview aired on National Public Radio in 2005. If not for the residual income from his earlier published works and what he earns as an arranger he would be in dire straits.

Mr. Foster’s life is the subject of a documentary film by Director Brian Grady and produced by Mr. Grady’s company Jazz Legacy Films. The song was selected as a hook for the story as it was Mr. Foster’s best known piece of work. As part of his research for the film Grady looked into the history of the song and found it to be one of the most popular tunes of the Basie repertoire. Coincidentally, a friend who is a copyright expert in the music industry had told him of the Copyright Act and its obscure detail.

“My friend Bill Stafford explained that agreements entered into prior to 1978 can be terminated 56 years after initial vesting of copyright, and that there is a 5 year window in which an author or their descendents have to act.  They must serve notice of termination at least 2 years in advance. “Shiny Stockings” was published in March of 1956.  That meant that in order to take full advantage of the composition’s shelf life, this had to be acted upon as soon as possible.”

Professor John Kettle of Rutgers School of Law- Newark, discusses Frank Foster's copyright issues with members of the Community Law Clinic at The Rutgers School of Law.

“Frank taught in the Jazz Studies program at Rutgers–New Brunswick back in the 1970s. Rutgers–Newark is now the home of The Institute of Jazz Studies, the largest Jazz archive in the world. I made contact with Professor Kettle to see if he was interested. He was, and assigned the project to the Community Law Clinic whose students, among other activities, provide legal guidance on copyright, trademark and related IP issues. Under Professor Kettle’s supervision they identified several pieces of music that fit into the timeframe and could potentially generate a significant revenue stream in the future.

The movie “Shiny Stockings” has been awarded a Sponsorship from The New York Foundation for the Arts. Mr. Grady is now seeking grants and corporate sponsorship. He hopes to have the film completed by year’s end and to premiere it as part of Black History Month in February 2011.

Shiny Stockings Receives NYFA Sponsorship

Our Film “Shiny Stockings” has been selected for
Fiscal Sponsorhip from The New York Foundation for The Arts.
The NYFA sponsorship allows us to raise funds under their 501 c-3 designation, apply for Government and Foundation grants and will supply a certain amount of administrative help in managing the project going forward. It also lets everyone know that our film is worthy of support based on subject matter and the work we’ve achieved so far.

Thanks to everyone that has supported our efforts for the past 2 years!

Please visit the Film’s FaceBook page or visit our YouTube channel to view the demo, trailer and get updates on the project as it happens. FB users click “Like” on the FB page…

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