Welcome to the Tremé, one of the world's fabled ghettos in New Orleans, and home to legendary jazz greats such as Buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong, Lester Hill and now, THE HOT 8 — a native jazz band steeped in a rich musical culture that evolved from generations of these and lesser-known jazz legends. The filmmaker narrates the story of eight remarkable musicians against the backdrop of life and music in New Orleans.
Along with remarkable jazz performances, a series of interviews artfully composed in black and white gives a keen sense of a strong jazz tradition born from generations of musical families still very much alive in 'The Big Easy' while at the same time asking questions about the future of the jazz community there.
These players inspire us through sharing their past, their passion for music and their dreams. Meet 11-year-old Travis Hill, the youngest member of The Hot 8, whose exposure to jazz, like many of his contemporaries, began in the first months of life. With this kind of talent at such a tender age, Travis, whose resume ranges from ongoing performances with local and national jazz bands like Wynton Marsalis, Kermit Ruffins and the Little Rascals to rock musician Michelle Shocked, has the potential to become one of the great trumpet players of all time.
Conversations amongst the older vanguard of local jazz musicians, however, reveals deep concern and a rift between the generations — from those who are experienced enough to know that without education and appropriate family and institutional support, these young talents are not likely to build a career let alone make ends meet.