April 17, 2017

Junior's Last Gig


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When I was a teenager I didn’t know what the word “epiphany” meant, but I experienced a few. One came courtesy of a late night radio station in Rochester, and a recording of Junior Mance’s “Harlem Lullaby.” I wrote about this song and my conversation with Junior in an earlier blog entry here. Junior has remained a personal favorite of mine, and I have had the pleasure of booking him and his trio on a number of occasions.
It saddens me to relate that Junior’s health is in decline as he suffers from dementia. Now at age 88, Junior is cared for by his wife, soul-mate and manager, Gloria Clayborne Mance. Gloria’s tireless efforts on Junior’s behalf have been noticed by documentary filmmakers Jyllian Gunther and Adam Khan, and they are undertaking a project to record Junior and Gloria’s story. It is entitled Sunset and the Mockingbird, and you can click the title to see its trailer.  Their story is reflective of thousands of other narratives across the country as the misfortune of dementia and Alzheimer’s become more prevalent in our aging population.
Documentary films by their very nature are not financed by corporations or movie studios, thus a Kickstarter campaign is underway to raise the necessary funding to complete this worthwhile project. Their goal is to raise $38,000 by the end of April, and they have passed the halfway point. Please consider donating to this worthy cause, both large and small amounts are welcome. You can access the Kickstarter fund drive here.

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