Tag: “Fat Albert”

Documentary on Floyd Norman, 1st Black Animator at Disney, Now on Netflix

article via shadowandact.com

After a theatrical run in USA theaters that kicked off in late August, the documentary “Floyd Norman – An Animated Life” – an intimate journey through the celebrated life and career of the legendary animator Floyd Norman, the first African American animator at Disney – is now streaming on Netflix.

Directed by Michael Fiore and Erik Sharkey, the crowd-pleaser recently won the award for Best documentary at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con. Born in 1935 in Santa Barbara, Norman’s love of animation first came when his mother took him to see Disney’s “Bambi” and “Dumbo.”  By the time he was a high schooler, he knew his goal was to be an animator at Disney Studios. After graduation, with the help of a friend, Norman got an appointment at Disney and he walked into Disney Studios, portfolio in hand, for an interview. But instead of getting a job, he was told to go to school, which Norman said later was the best advice anyone had ever given him. He entered the Art Center College of Design and two years later, got a call to go work for Disney. He dropped out of school and started working at the studio the following Monday.

He worked on various features including “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Sword in the Stone,” “The Jungle Book,” and several short subjects. He left Disney after Walt Disney died in 1966, and, with Ron Sullivan, formed AfroKids Animation Studio. Among the other properties they created was the first “Fat Albert” television special which aired in 1969 on NBC (the later more well-known Fat Albert TV series was made by Filmation Associates, not AfroKids). But starting in the early 1970s, Norman returned to Disney to work on projects like “Robin Hood.”

To read more, go to: Award-Winning New Doc on Floyd Norman, 1st Black Animator to Work for Disney, Now Streaming on Netflix – Shadow and Act

Herbie Hancock Named Harvard’s 2014 Norton Professor of Poetry

Jazz Luminary Herbie Hancock (Photograph by Guillaume Laurent/Wikipedia)

World-renowned jazz musician and composer Herbie Hancock has been named Harvard University’s 2014 Norton Professor of Poetry.  Hancock will give six lectures this spring on topics that include “The Wisdom of Miles Davis,” “Breaking the Rules,” “Cultural Diplomacy and the Voice Of Freedom,” and “Innovation and New Technologies.”

“It is a great privilege to welcome Herbie Hancock as the Norton Professor,” said Homi Bhabha, Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities and Director of the Mahindra Humanities Center, which is hosting the lectures. “His unsurpassed contribution to the history of music has revolutionized our understanding of the ways in which the arts transform our civic consciousness and our spiritual aspirations. It would be no exaggeration to say that he has defined cultural innovation in each decade of the last half-century.”

Born on April 12, 1940, in Chicago, Hancock grew up in a family that wasn’t particularly musical, according to Biography.com. At the age of seven he began studying European classical music, which continues to influence both his playing and composing. At the same time, he was influenced by jazz pianists like George Shearing, Oscar Peterson, and Erroll Garner. As a young teenager, he was playing Mozart with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As a member of the Miles Davis Quintet (which he joined in 1963), Hancock performed on dozens of albums and established a reputation as an outstanding composer who explored genres outside traditional jazz, ranging from fusion to R&B to hip-hop.

Hancock has also provided scores for a number of TV and film projects, including Bill Cosby’s Fat Albert cartoon series and an accompanying album, as well as for the movies Death Wish (1974), A Soldier’s Story (1984), and Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (1986). He won an Academy Award for the score to ‘Round Midnight (1986); his other honors include 14 Grammy Awards, including Album Of The Year for River: The Joni Letters.

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