Director: Bruce Broder
Original Release: 2007
My Overall Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Every year, the best high school jazz bands in the United States send audition recordings to Lincoln Center in New York in hopes of being invited to the Essentially Ellington Festival. Chops, a documentary directed by Bruce Broder, chronicles the adventures of one such band in its quest for the first place trophy. Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida is one of the top performing arts high schools in the country. At the outset of the film, the school's jazz band had been invited to the festival two years before but had not placed in the top three.
That's the plot, which is satisfying enough in an inspiring sports movie kind of way. That's not why you need to see this film. The talent of the students will blow...your...mind! We meet two of the Douglas Anderson students while they're still in middle school and you will not believe what these 13-year-old kids can do.
Do you like being inspired? Do you love jazz? Do you believe in the importance of arts education? Look no further. Chops is your movie. Part of me feels I should share this with students but I know I'd be heartbroken if they don't like it.
"When you love the music, you take risks." Amen.