Watch the exclusive first trailer for ‘Bolden,’ a jazzy movie from Wynton Marsalis

Buddy Bolden (Gary Carr, center) performs with his band in the biopic “Bolden”

Cornet player Charles “Buddy” Bolden was a father of jazz, the first king of New Orleans music and largely a mystery of a man. Now a new film from another icon, Wynton Marsalis, is paying tribute to the legend.

Directed by Dan Pritzker, “Bolden” (in theaters May 3) reimagines the life, music and passions of the influential instrumentalist (played by Gary Carr of “Downton Abbey”) against the social backdrop of turn-of-the-20th-century America. USA TODAY exclusively debuts the first trailer for the film, which co-stars Erik LaRay Harvey (“Luke Cage”) as Bolden’s manager Bartley, Yaya DaCosta as wife Nora Bolden, Ian McShane as the politician Judge Perry, Michael Rooker as Perry’s enforcer Pat McMurphy, and Reno Wilson as Louis Armstrong.

Now seen as a mythic character, Buddy Bolden (born on Sept. 6, 1877) was a rock star of his time, says executive producer Marsalis, who wrote, arranged and performed music for the movie. (He’s the man playing the glorious notes coming from Bolden’s cornet and Armstrong’s trumpet.) But a lot about Bolden’s life is unknown: He was committed to a mental asylum in 1907, where he died 24 years later, and no recordings of him exist.

“Many mythologies have a hero that comes from the bottom of whatever the social construct is, because that puts people more in touch with their humanity and takes them out of their system,” Marsalis tells USA TODAY. “He created a coherent soul. He had a virtuosity of putting together the feeling of the church and the marches.”

Bolden also came from the street and “the bottom of the culture where everything is supposed to always be stamped out and be happy to be stamped out,” adds Marsalis, who had a key role creating the “Bolden” soundtrack (out April 19). “He wasn’t playing to let people know this is what we do on the bottom. He was saying this was what y’all need to be doing on the top. And when he started to play, you thought, ‘Man, could we do that?’ “

by Brian Truitt
Source: USA Today

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