CorrespondentMarch 29, 2009 

  • Jackie Paris

    'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris

JAZZ, Jackie Paris, " 'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris," 4 stars

What kept Jackie Paris from making it big like Sinatra, Nat "King" Cole, Tony Bennett and Johnny Mathis?

That's the question that runs through Raymond De Felitta's documentary, "'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris" (Outsider Pictures).

In the beginning, Paris performed with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Charles Mingus. He was the first singer to record Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight."

"He knew how good he was," one documentary speaker says. "Difficult" and "cocky," say musicians. "The great Jackie Paris," ex-wife No. 1 spews, echoed by their son.

De Felitta catches up with Paris at a comeback gig in March 2004. Three months later, Paris dies.

In the interim, amid interviews near and far, De Felitta films a touching scene when Paris and singer Anne Marie Moss, ex-wife No. 2, reunite over a meal. They begin to scat-sing one of their old routines.

Paris and Moss appeared at Raleigh's Frog and Nightgown in the early '70s, which is not mentioned in the film. But by this time, the Beatles had already ruined the record business for the quality pop and jazz singers of the '50s. Paris and many of his contemporaries would never recover.

Although this is not a performance video per se, it does include clips of Paris singing live as well as cuts from his records. By bebop standards, Paris is the definition of hip. But he doesn't rub it in. It's just there -- in an unassuming way. You ought to see this one.

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