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Directed by Jeffrey Kaufman

United States 2012 90 mins. In English

Born poor in Baltimore, Chick Webb broke his back as a boy and faced life as a hunchback dwarf afflicted with spinal tuberculosis. Someone suggested drumming as a kind of physical therapy, and Webb found his calling: running off to New York at only 16, he built the hottest jazz orchestra in America, whose home base was Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom, one of the rare places in America where blacks and whites could socialize together. The honor roll of artists discovered and mentored by Webb is extraordinary, but perhaps no star shines brighter than that of Ella Fitzgerald. Featuring interviews with those who knew or played with Webb, great period footage, as well as a firm sense of social and cultural history, THE SAVOY KING is a meditation on the transformative power of music as well as a monument to a great American artist.



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.