A few years ago Joel Siebert, now residing in Lakewood, completed THE SAX MAN, an uptempo documentary (with a bit of bluesiness) about Cleveland’s best-known musician. No, you stupid internet kids, not Michael Stanley - well, yes, we suppose Michael Stanley is Cleveland’s best-known musician. But far more people, arguably, have heard and seen Maurice Reedus Jr.
Reedus, for the past 20 years, have been a ubiquitous street-saxophone player, blowing his notes chiefly around Playhouse Square and sporting events downtown. Many passersby in the crowd just know him as the Sax Man, who takes requests of all sorts - when police aren’t telling him to move along.
Siebert’s film (with guest appearances by radio personality Alan Cox, actor-turned-music-producer Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and prolific local writer Ted Schwarz) opens up Reedus’ bittersweet past. He’s an artist descended from Grammy royalty, a guy who could-a-been-a-contender, and now roughs it with his horn in all sorts of stormy weather. But is he a “real” musician? And could Reedus come through in an honest-to-goodness, professional-style, full-band concert set? A third act performance at the Cleveland House of Blues franchise answers that question tunefully.
THE SAX MAN has been playing gigs on the festival circuit, in and out of the Cleveland area. Now a distributor is interested, and a Netflix pickup is a possibility. But the major stumbling block: paying the high fees for a daunting number of music-licensing rights that need to be secured, for the in-copyright sonic samples and medleys (the Addams Family theme, for instance) that Reedus renders impromptu in the movie. It’s not like that stuff can just be cut out without affecting the material.
So a special fundraiser showing of THE SAX MAN is slated for Saturday, March 7, at the Atlas Lakeshore 7 multiplex cinema in Euclid. Be there at 7 p.m. to meet the filmmakers and support the effort to make THE SAX MAN marketplace legal with your $10 admission fee. Or do you think 50 SHADES OF GREY really needs your ticket money that badly?
(Shut up, Michael Stanley, we weren’t talking to you)
The Atlas Lakeshore is at 22624 Lakeshore Boulevard in Euclid. The phone number is 216-731-1700. For more information about the film, go to http://www.saxmanmovie.com/.