This is what I love: Curiosity. It's the challenge of every documentary filmmaker, and any filmmaker actually, to engage the curiosity of our viewers.
I learned well from a career in journalism that a good writer writes a good lead and then engages the reader in every sentence, every paragraph until they have gotten through the whole stories.
It's also true with watching a film. Viewers must be engaged, and stay engaged, or they will surf channels for something more engaging.
Back to why a jazz film.
Besides making this film about someone I know who lived an absolutely passionate life of creating music (doesn't that engage your curiosity? how he did it?), I am curious about jazz and why it is such a huge sub-culture in American music. Do understand jazz, I have joined a number of discussion boards on LinkedIn and have kinda become a fly on the wall as these jazz enthusiasts discuss jazz and their love for it, their playing it.
Of course, I am listening to jazz, to Thomas' jazz, and engaging my listening ear. I am finding I can't listen to jazz like audio wallpaper, while you do the dishes and things. I mean you can, especially with "cool jazz", but I'm finding listening intently in my car really trying to HEAR the communication in the music is different. It takes focus to hear Thomas' music. To hear his complex compositions. To imagine his musical world inside his head, his heart and his emotions. To fully enjoy his creations, his joy noise.
As I have done with other subjects I have made films about -- opera, Filipinos in WWII, cockfighters in America, boating culture, poverty and children, war brides, and church history, to name a few of my film explorations, when I make a film, I must engage in research and enter in with curiosity and focus.
Why jazz? Why not.