While it’s a pleasure to once again see Glover and Sifferlen on the stages of The Jazz Kitchen and the Chatterbox Jazz Club, the documentary is remarkable for genuinely moving interviews which see both men speaking, unguardedly, about their relationship and work. Glover calls Sifferlen his “real dad,” while Sifferlen describes how, early in their relationship, he advised a young Glover struggling with growing pains (girlfriends, substance abuse) with which he had already dealt.
Sifferlen doesn’t dwell on his health problems; he jokes that he’s glad he picked music as a career instead of baseball, because he would’ve retired long ago otherwise, and he and his wife note that he’s living on borrowed time, having lived more than two years beyond what doctors had prognosticated. But Sifferlen is near the end of his life during the filming of the documentary, and cameras are on-hand during a recording session cut short when he suffers a precipitous loss of blood pressure and ends up being taken away in an ambulance. It’s during that scene that we see how much Sifferlen and Glover care for each other, as Glover comforts a weakened Sifferlen, holding his hand until the paramedics arrive.
“For me, the project has always been about the unique relationship between these two men, how essential it is for both of them, how they rely on each other symbiotically for their art, their livelihood and ultimately their happiness,” producer Vincent Manganello says of his documentary. “And now one of them is dying, and the other has to figure out how to carry on.”
Manganello was also in the position of carrying on after the death of a collaborator. Ben Strout, who initiated the project, died of a heart attack last summer, leaving the film unfinished. Manganello, who was already working on the project as a cameraman, was asked by WFYI (specifically WFYI VP of production Clayton Taylor) if he might carry on Stout’s work.
“It was heartbreaking to think that all that tape was just sitting in a box,” Manganello thought at the time, and he ended up becoming the producer of the project, shooting new footage and editing material for broadcast.
Glover also carries on, of course, playing the Thursday Chatterbox gig once held by he and Sifferlen (8 to 11 p.m., no cover), with Zach Lapidus taking over on piano. In a fitting coda to the documentary, Glover notes that there’s a role reversal at work in his relationship with Lapidus, with the elder Glover having to put up with some of the difficult behavior of a younger collaborator, just as he once acted out under the watchful eye of Sifferlen.
Thursday, Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m., WFYI-1