Be Known

94 minutes 2014

Renowned jazz percussionist Kahil El'Zabar is the subject of this endearing but slipshod documentary, directed by his longtime friend Dwayne Johnson-Cochran. A fiery, occasionally abrasive personality, El'Zabar grants the director a staggering level of access to his personal and professional lives, and there are candid, often confrontational moments involving bandmates, bookers, and multiple ex-lovers. Because the men are close, the documentary ultimately becomes something of a dual portrait, as Johnson-Cochran tries to reconcile his conflicted feelings of admiration and revulsion; the tension helps to distinguish this from similar musician profiles.

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