One of the things I like best about my Dad’s career and accomplishments is that it can they can be of interest to so many different what I call constituencies–and one of those constituencies is composed of jazz fans–and they are being served this weekend by the inclusion of the film at the Miami Jazz Film Festival–an annual event sponsored by jazz radio station WDNA in Miami. The screening is Saturday October 2nd at 5 pm at the Tower Theater: 1508 SW 8 Street. As some readers of this post will know, Raymond Scott’s early music may have sounded like jazz but technically wasn’t because it didn’t include improvisation during performance. What they might not know is that he did allow his musicians in his “Quintette” to improvise while the band was working up a piece, and once he heard something he liked he then wanted them to play it that way every time–so the music does often spring from improvised elements. Additionally, later groups, particularly the CBS Raymond Scott Big Band from the mid 1940’s, were legit jazz bands, that CBS group, which included jazz greats like Ben Webster and Cozy Cole, did feature some improvisation–legend has it that Ben Webster made improvisation a key condition if he was going to join up, and he was such a big name that my Dad agreed, and he then had to allow other players to improv. The film does include a sequence about that group, which also was truly groundbreaking and historical as the first integrated network radio band, something my father had to push through against real resistance from the CBS execs. Of course all this is covered in more detail in the film, so if you’re in the Miami area hope you can make it over to the Tower theater at 5pm this Saturday! I’d love to be there, but due to conflicting commitments it just wasn’t possible to make it happen.