Documentary

It's hard to believe, but September 23rd marks 91 years since the birth of John Coltrane, who left us way too soon in 1967 at age 40; that makes 50 years since his passing. So it's a good time, we think, to gather together and remember one of Philadelphia’s favorite former residents.

WRTI 90.1 will feature the five-hour radio documentary Tell Me How Long Trane’s Been Gone, produced by Temple University and WRTI alumnus Steve Rowland, from September 20th through the 24th, every night from 8 until 9 pm.

The documentary film The Music of Strangers, and a companion CD, Sing Me Home—from Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble— both snared 2017 Grammy nominations, and a Grammy win for the CD for Best World Music Album. WRTI's Susan Lewis has the story on the Silk Road Ensemble, a group that seeks connections across cultures.
 


There's no shortage of poignant moments in I Called Him Morgan, Kasper Collin's mesmerizing new documentary about the life and death of jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan. One moment, about half an hour into the film, has stuck with me since I first saw it, lingering like an afterimage or the hook from a song.

When you think of an orchestra, you're probably picturing refined woodwinds, brass, and strings. But one ensemble I recently met is made up mostly of kids who play instruments made out of literal trash. This is the Recycled Orchestra from Cateura, Paraguay, and their group is the subject of a new documentary film.

Julieta Cervantes

Philadelphia has long been known as a theater tryout town, but one show that many have forgotten is the first mainstream African American hit Shuffle Along. Now, a documentary revision of the 1921 jazz musical is back and is a big Broadway hit.  The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns examines its local roots.