Now Showing: Lowell Blues: The Words of Jack Kerouac

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Ferrini Productions Inc.

What's New(s)-updated 4/24/2010

—June 2010. Polis is This and Lowell Blues screening, National Gallery of Art, 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC. 20565 Tel: 202.842.6272
—October 9th, 2010. Charles Olson Centenary Festival, Gloucester, MA. Polis is This.
Archive of Things Past

  • Polis Is This
  • Lowell Blues
  • Prez
  • Poem in Action
  • Know Fish
  • Witch City
  • Radio Fishtown
  • Loco in Euzkadi
  • Leather Soul
  • Last Call

  • Middle Street
  • Who is Sylvia
  • Ray Parson
  • Sandy's Jazz Revival

  • Non-Profit Work
  • World of Arco
  • GE Plastics
  • UMass-Boston
  • United Nations
  • Mass Audubon
  • Center For Millennial Studies




Rolling Stone's founding editor Ralph Gleason said, "If you don't know Pres, you've missed a great part of America." Pres was born Lester Willis Young in Mississippi, a purgatory for African-Americans in 1909. He was raised in a nether world between slavery and Jim Crow. Yet in the face of the soul-deadening forces of segregation Lester chose beauty. Music was his life and his life was music. "It was all music, that's all there was."

There's no telling where his prodigious skill, auburn hair and green eyes would have landed him in our times. Pres was the most influential musician during the period between Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker. Billie Holiday gave her favorite player the moniker of Pres because he was jazz royalty. King, Count and Duke were taken. Lady Day bestowed upon him the highest office of jazz in America.

Lester's pursuit for originality and beauty created a place for culture to flourish. In the jazz clubs of New Orleans, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City and Paris musicians created a listening space that brought all people together. Later this became a community that in 2008 helped elect our second African-American President.

The mission of this film is to rediscover and interpret Lester Young's life through the lens of American culture. To inform a new generation who knows little of this time and the musicians who played jazz on the front lines of a battlefield that still burns.


The history of jazz, the ignominy of racism and the struggle of the artist in America is the story of tenor saxophone legend Lester Young. Lester's lifetime spanned the jazz eras from Satchmo to Bird, from Jim Crow to the civil rights movement. Young's style affected all who followed: be boppers, the cool school even Jack Kerouac and the beats. His massively influential legacy for musicians and listeners is explored in this upcoming project from Ferrini Productions.

Looking for Prez near his birthplace
in Woodville, Mississippi.


Communing with the spirit of
Lester Young at his birthplace.


Henry Ferrini, Vivian Johnson, Lester's half-sister,
and Aaron Johnson, Vivian's son, after an interview
with Vivian at her home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.




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