“A Jazzman’s Blues” - Movie Review

Story posted September 30, 2022 in

*TRIGGER WARNING: brief mentions of sexual assault and drug use*

Written and directed by Tyler Perry, “A Jazzman’s Blues,” premiered on Netflix, September 23.

This is one of many films Perry has written and directed, one of note being “Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween.” He is well-known for balancing various careers such as producer, director, actor and screenwriter. All of which Perry proves his talent at, time and time again.

The film strays from Perry’s recent genre of comedy and moves into drama with a focus on issues of prejudice, sexual assault and drug use, to mention a few.

Set in 1940’s Georgia, the film follows Bayou (Joshua Boone) and Leanne (Solea Pfeiffer), two young people in love, strained by the segregated south.

Perry takes watchers through the journey of these characters as they face racism resulting in some having to hide who they are or flee to safer places. All of these struggles lead to a tear jerking ending some might find unexpected.

Perry has a talent for writing characters one is meant to hate, characters one grows to like and characters one is meant to love. Each character holds their own secrets, some of which are never revealed, making the film all-the-more intriguing.

Specifically, a character repeatedly revealing their antagonist nature is Wille Earl (Austin Scott), who destroys his relationship with Bayou (a well-liked character) throughout the film.

Joshua Boone excels in his role of Bayou, as watchers will be rooting for him every step of the way when struggling to fit in with his family and his town.

A large aspect of the film includes Bayou’s amazing talent, singing. His smooth voice momentarily distracts you from the hardships Bayou and other characters experience in scenes fully devoted to spotlighting him.

“A Jazzman’s Blues,” score is composed by Aaron Zigman, illustrating each scene’s mood flawlessly. Zigman has composed the music for a number of films, such as “The Notebook.” Therefore, it makes sense this film holds so much emotion in even the music alone.

As the title hints, jazz sets the scenes in most cases, including those in Mama’s (Amirah Vann) juke joint. The energy of the music creates the perfect mood.

In Mama’s juke joint the struggles of people in their community are forgotten when they assemble in this safehouse for the night to sing and listen to the band consisting of instruments like trumpets and saxophones.

There is an effortless jump from upbeat scenes taking place in Bayou’s mom’s juke joint to scenes charged with racism, making the movie well-directed and polished. It can be said the composed music produces a smoothness to these switches in mood as well.

The plot portrays a story of black struggle impactfully with both the writing and music composed to set the tone. Incredible detail contributing to setting and historical background boost the already superb screen-writing.

Therefore, one can agree when stating Perry exceeded all expectations when creating “A Jazzman’s Blues,” as there are no films quite like it. Perry has yet again produced another film to file away in his thick portfolio of astonishing films.

Rating: 5/5


Cassie Baylis is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism, to contact her email ceb6085@psu.edu.