WVIA Announce New Documentary: Eddie Durham

American Public Television (APT) and WVIA have announced the debut of a new WVIA original documentary titled WHAM Re-Bop-Boom-Bam: The Swing Jazz of Eddie Durham, coming in February. The film will be broadcast on over 250 APT member stations nationwide. 

Eddie Durham was an American jazz guitarist, trombonist, composer, and arranger. He was one of the pioneers of the electric guitar in jazz music. Through the testimonials of family, friends and devoted fellow musicians of all ages, Wham-Re-Bop-Boom-Bam: The Swing Jazz of Eddie Durham follows the musical journey of this often overlooked, but totally unique, musical genius.

“Eddie Durham was an innovator who helped shape a whole era of American music, no question. But he also had that rare gift of being able to bring people together, in bands and in life, across multiple generations and widely varying social backgrounds. He found the best in everyone, and everyone who knew him was a better musician and a better person for it,” said Producer Kris Hendrickson. “Our hope is that this documentary will help more people get to know Eddie Durham and, consequently, bring more people together through their appreciation for and admiration of him.”

Produced and directed by WVIA’s Kris Hendrickson and Executive Producer Ben Payavis II, along with Music Director and Producer Loren Schoenberg of The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, the film will be presented and distributed by American Public Television. WHAM Re-Bop-Boom-Bam will air on public television stations nationwide in February 2024 (check local listings for airdates). 

The documentary also gave students of The Juilliard School in New York City an opportunity to perform original Eddie Durham arrangements that had never been recorded, allowing the next generation of jazz musicians to bring Eddie’s music to life for themselves.

“It’s so important to honor Eddie Durham’s legacy and to play his music, especially for young people,” said Dr. Aaron Flagg, Chair and Associate Director of Juilliard Jazz. “That really helps them understand the journey that the great American music known as jazz has taken.” 

This film provides a unique look into the life and career of Eddie Durham, including details from those who knew him best. The story of Eddie Durham is told through interviews with an array of jazz musicians such as Russel Malone, Vincent Gardner, James Chirillo, jazz historians Robert O’Meally, Dennis Spragg, and more. It also includes interviews with Durham’s daughter Marcia and sons Eric and Terrance. 

“There’s been a lot of talk about roots; roots of civilization, families, of art, and history. When it comes to music in America, very few artists have deeper roots than Eddie Durham, and finally, a documentary has been produced to reveal how deep his story truly is. Above all, it’s a story of talent, perseverance, and love”, said Producer Loren Schoenberg. 

The trailer for WHAM Re-Bop-Boom-Bam: The Swing Jazz of Eddie Durham can be viewed here.

For a full list of PBS stations carrying WHAM Re-Bop-Boom-Bam: The Swing Jazz of Eddie Durham, please visit our website here, or contact your local station directly.