Sunday, January 06, 2008

Every Beat of My Heart: The Johnny Otis Story

Johnny Otis with Bo Diddley

Watch out for a movie about the life of Johnny Otis called Every Beat Of My Heart.
Here's the lowdown on the movie:
Born John Veliotis, the son of Greek immigrants, Johnny Otis grew up in the heart of Berkeley California's African-American community. By the mid-forties he had one of the top big bands on Central Avenue, L.A.'s jazz Mecca, and toured the country from the Fillmore to the Apollo to the Deep South. Often called the "Godfather of Rhythm & Blues," Otis not only had his own hit recordings ("Harlem Nocturne," "Willie and the Hand Jive"), but also had a legendary eye for talent. He discovered such greats as Etta James, Esther Phillips, Jackie Wilson, Little Willie John and Big Mama Thornton, for whom he produced the original "Hound Dog." More than the story of a man and his music, Otis' six-decade odyssey through the world of African American music provides a unique window into aspects of race and culture that have defined and transformed contemporary America. Schmiechen's affectionate film charts the rich life, insights and unusual perspective of a man who, at 80, in addition to his continuing advancement and preservation of Black music and culture, is an expressive painter, organic farmer, cook, cartoonist, author, bird breeder and fisherman.
The film is 82 minutes long directed by Bruce Schmiechen and produced by Kevin White.

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