Trying to Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon (2008)

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Though commonly recognized by many from his longtime stint as Merv Griffin's comedic sidekick on The Merv Griffin Show, trumpeter and vocalist Jack Sheldon qualifies, hands-down, as a force of jazz and one of the most unique talents in his chosen genre. Fewer still may realize, however, that off-camera Sheldon battled his way through one of the most tumultuous and tortuous lives imaginable - replete with horrific, crushing personal tragedy, drug addiction and alcohol abuse. In the final analysis, he survived, and quickly became a stand-by in Hollywood whenever celebrities sought a musician for their private events - thus reeling in friends as lofty as Billy Crystal, fellow jazz pianist Clint Eastwood, and Johnny Mandel, each one in awe of Sheldon's musical prowess. With the documentary Trying to Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon, husband-and-wife filmmaking team Penny Peyser and Doug McIntyre reflects on Sheldon's life and incredible career, by interpolating interviews with the aforementioned celebrities and others, archival footage of Sheldon performing with such heavyweights as Stan Kenton and Benny Goodman, performance clips of The Jack Sheldon Orchestra, and much more.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Documentary , Musical & Performing Arts , Special Interest
Directed By:
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In Theaters:
 wide
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Critic Reviews for Trying to Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon

All Critics (2) | Top Critics (2)

Production values are rough, but the lack of polish serves both Sheldon's raffish, off-color persona and the film's argument that L.A. jazz is still alive in small nightclubs, not something confined to a much-mythologized past.

Full Review… | June 5, 2008
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

Despite -- or, perhaps, because of -- his cult status, Sheldon makes a compelling centerpiece for the lively, nostalgic documentary Trying to Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon.

Full Review… | May 30, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

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