Monday, July 8, 2024

Living Music: a film about Ra Kalam Bob Moses

My friend Clifford Koufman has been working hard and is filming and producing a documentary on the life of Ra Kalam Bob Moses.

Check out the trailer below and learn more about how you can help bring this important project to life by visiting this link to his Indiegogo campaign:  https://igg.me/at/livingmusic/x#/

About the Film

This is a film about groundbreaking drummer, composer, and artist Ra Kalam Bob Moses—one of the great musicians of all time. Growing up in the heart of the New York music scene, in the company of iconic musicians like Art Blakey, Max Roach, Elvin Jones, and Charles Mingus (whom he was jamming with by the time he was 13), Ra Kalam is among the legends who have shaped modern music.

He has played on historic records, including Pat Metheny’s Bright Size Life, and performed or recorded with fellow luminaries Herbie Hancock, Jaco Pastorius, Gary Burton, Jack DeJohnette, Carla and Paul Bley, Steve Swallow, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, John Scofield, Steve Kuhn, Pharoah Sanders, Todd Rundgren, John Medeski, Bobby McFerrin, and more.

Not content to limit himself to the realm of jazz music, Ra Kalam has created his own style and philosophy of “living music,” transcending from music maker to innovator. He has dedicated much of his life to sharing this philosophy with students and fellow musicians, with a mission to help great musicians of different genres find freedom in their expression.

Ra Kalam has received a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis and we are working hard to help him tell the story of his life and incredible musical journey while we still have him with us.

What have we accomplished so far?

Since last year, we have completed most of the filming for this project. We’ve conducted interviews with Pat Metheny, Gary Burton, Steve Swallow, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Summers, and Peter Erskine, as well as many of Ra Kalam’s other musical colleagues, protegés, and personal connections.

Last September we spent an amazing week in New Orleans filming Ra Kalam recording, playing concerts, and interacting with legendary New Orleans musicians including Bill Summers, Johnny Vidacovich, and Tony Dagradi. He also gave masterclasses, passing some of his wisdom along to a new generation of hopeful musicians.

Since then we've traveled to several locations including Richmond, VA, to record a session with Ra Kalam and his spiritual mentor Tisziji Muñoz, and to Miami to interview the great vibraphonist and bandleader Gary Burton. We’ve also conducted Zoom interviews with many of those whom we couldn’t meet in person.

In this process, we have launched a self-contained production company, which has enabled us to film any time a cool opportunity arises, rather than having to hire crews and rent gear for every shoot. This has given us access to more intimate moments.

We have purchased two Netflix-approved cameras, a powerful computer, several high-capacity hard drives, and other necessary equipment, as well as paying for studio time, musicians, travel expenses, etc. We’ve put a couple hundred collective hours into learning Davinci Resolve, the film editing software that we are using for this project.

The depth and wealth of Ra Kalam’s creativity as a musician, composer, artist, and human are astounding. We have some amazing interview footage with a who’s-who of musicians, all of whom have had glowing things to say about him. And we can’t wait to share his story with you!

What’s left to do?

This summer we’re doing more on-location filming and interviews, including a week and a half in New York to fill in the last major pieces of the puzzle: visiting the areas where Ra Kalam grew up and lived among the pillars of Jazz music, documenting some of his favorite stories, and interviewing his longtime friends and family members.

After that, we begin post-production. At this point we will be focused on editing the hundreds of hours of footage we’ve captured and distilling it down to the most essential clips that will tell this story in the best way possible.

We’ll continue consulting with film industry experts on next steps and best practices, and will be working to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s as far as funding, rights, distribution, etc.

Our goal is not just to share this story with as many people as possible, but to do it in a personal, compelling way that captures the essence of Ra Kalam in all his colorful facets. Ultimately, we want him to be recognized alongside his peers for all his contributions to music and culture.

About the Filmmaker

This project is being spearheaded by filmmaker Clifford Koufman, who is a Nashville drummer, percussionist, visual artist, and educator. Clifford has interviewed more than 100 artists and creatives in his series ClifChats. He has developed a close relationship with Ra Kalam as a student, mentee, and friend over 18+ years. They have bonded not only over music but also over their common experiences as single fathers raising sons.

It is an understatement to say that Ra Kalam is a prolific artist. Do yourself a favour and take a trip through a living history of jazz, rock, and avant garde music. rakalamrecords.bandcamp.com

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