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Image and video hosting by TinyPic Cast: Wynton Marsalis

Director: Bruce Broder

Genre: Musical/Documentary

Year: 2009

Rating: NR

Each year, Jazz at Lincoln Center and its artistic director Wynton Marsalis host the Essentially Ellington Festival, a competition of high school jazz bands from across the country. Bruce Broder's documentary focuses on one Florida band's experience at the festival.

Filmmaker Bruce Broder aims his camera on a crop of talented young jazz musicians as they play their way through the Essentially Ellington high school jazz band competition. Sponsored by the Jazz at Lincoln Center program, the prestigious contest gives the kids the chance to rub shoulders with legendary trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and put their budding improvisational skills to the test. Chops is a film follows a group of high school kids as they pursue their goal to win the most prestigious jazz band competition in the country: the annual Essentially Ellington Festival in New York City. These are young high school kids that have great talent and must use them to the best of their abilities under some very heavy pressure at times. The best of the best only make it as there are around 900 high schools that apply each year and out of all of those only 15 bands get the invite. In today's world of high school violence and what seems like only bad news on our televisions and newspapers Chops not only provides some joy but also hope. These are kids that are not only attempting to learn the music they love but at the same time they are finding out about themselves. The moment the film began I was taken in, I may not know any of these kids but I was rooting for all of them regardless and felt as proud of them as anyone could. Then there is the music, I must admit I am not a big Jazz fan but I was blown away by their music, the music itself relaxes you and takes you to another place, you certainly get lost in it and let me tell you being lost never felt so good. This is a documentary that not only highlights these great kids but it shows the importance of having something in your life with substance, something that you love and in doing so you gain a confidence from it that lasts a life time. Chops is one of the best feel good movies I have seen in some time and one I found to entertaining and captivating as well as being inspiring. If you enjoy music,documentaries or just looking for something different this is one film that will leave you with a smile on your face.

Released by Virgil Films

***** Out Of *****