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Filmmaker Determined to Share Local Sax Legend, Gene Walker’s Story

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by Mark Subel on January 14, 2010

A new article by the Other Paper highlights local amateur filmmaker John Fraim, and his determination to tell the story of local sax legend, Gene Walker.  After an Jazz Academy event, at Fort Hayes Arts and Academic School where Walker teaches every Monday, Fraim was inspired to share the Gene Walker story with others in the community and around the world. He began filming interviews with Walker and people associated with Walker, like his former High School band teacher and managers of old jazz clubs in Columbus.

“The more I started hanging around Gene, the more stories he’d tell,” said Fraim. “The story just keeps expanding and getting richer.”

John Fraim moved to Columbus from California in 2002, and at the time had very little knowledge of the jazz scene or jazz history in Columbus. After speaking with Gene Walker, he realized his knowledge was severely limited.

“It made me realize how rich the city’s musical history was,” Fraim said. “And the more Gene and I talked, the more the story grew. It needed to be told.”

At the moment, Fraim is working to raise funds for this project as preliminary work begins on the film. He hopes to have the film completed by late summer of 2010 after which he will take it to various film festivals and try to attract attention from TV stations like Columbus’s WOSU.

“This is a story that doesn’t really happen many places,” said Fraim. “It’s the story of an important time in Columbus’s history. But it’s more than that. It’s a story of community, brought together by music, that transcends Columbus.”

Gene Walker is a legend in Columbus Jazz History. Gene Walker has toured since 1958 with some of the world’s greatest entertainers including The Beatles, King Curtis, Jackie Wilson, Sam Cook, Johnny “Hammond” Smith, Jimmy McGriff, The Drifters, Chris Columbo and The Platters.

He has performed with many others including:

Buster Brown, Brook Benton, Wilson Picket, Aretha Franklin, Etta Jones, Benny Green, Irene Reid, Wild Bill Davis, Bobby Shu, Hank Mar,r Jimmy Scott, Faye Adams, Roy Hamilton, Little Anthony, Brenda Lee, Shep and the Limelights, The Chantels, Charles Earland, King Coleman, Lloyd Price, Jimmy Reed, Isley Brothers, Neil Diamond, Neil Sedaka, Melba Moore, Billy Daniels, Jon Thomas, Gil Askey, Dayton Selby, Elvin Jones, Jimmy Jones, Jack McDuff.

Read the full feature from Eric Lyttle of the: Other Paper

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