Weldon Irvine

Last revised 12/20/2016

Released in November, 2012 by Shout! Productions of Japan, this double-disc set is a ground-breaking production due to its inaugural release of the entire sound-track of the musical, “Young, Gifted and Broke”, plus the re-release of the 60-minute video documentary “The Edification of Weldon Irvine” with Japanese subtitles. The musical’s lyrics have been completely transcribed in English and Japanese, and the two-disc set features a 12-page booklet with essays and the complete textual and visual discography in Japanese of Irvine’s recorded works and sessions in which he performed as a sideman. The audio tracks of the documentary remain in English. The crew behind this brilliant production are Ken Tsukamoto, Yusuke Ogawa and Nakata Ryo. Click here to purchase this collectors item from Amazon, Japan. Click here for the English version of Amazon.Japan.


A Master of Fine Arts thesis film project (New York University Graduate  Institute of Motion Picture and Television Production, 1975), The Edification of Weldon Irvine is a 60-minute, 16mm documentary of the jazz musician and playwright. Produced, written, directed and edited by  Collis Davis, the film takes the audience through a journey in the life of Irvine from his childhood days in Virginia to the late ‘70s in New  York.

The Edification of Weldon Irvine portrays the struggle of a young  African-American to attain some measure of peace of mind amidst a troubled family background, a turbulent adolescence, and a mercurial  professional career with RCA Records. A childhood playmate of the filmmaker, Collis Davis,  Weldon talks about growing up in Hampton, Virginia, his fascination with weapons, his mentors such as songstress, Nina Simone, for whom he served as musical director, personal discipline as an artist and as a professional gambler, and his quest for inner enlightenment. For more detail on Weldon Irvine’s life, please click here for an article written by Collis Davis for the Program Booklet of the 41st Hampton Jazz Festival of 2008.

Throughout the documentary, Weldon is seen in performance at New York's well-known jazz club, The Village Gate, a studio solo piano performance, and a rousing song and dance number from his musical, "Young, Gifted and Broke". Additionally, there is a audio performance of the Hampton University choir singing Weldon's arrangement of the Negro Spiritual, "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" edited to a montage of a Charles White mural, "The Contribution of the Negro to Democracy in America", and  historical still photographs taken at the University. A review of The Edification of Weldon Irvine can be read at the following web site:

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What a fascinating documentary. I obviously bought it out of interest in Weldon Irvine, and I apologize that going into it and knowing it was a student film, my expectations were not that high. But I was completely captivated throughout its entirety. You did one hell of a job capturing the essence of your subject in this film. It is a timeless piece on a timeless musician, and I think that more people should know about it and see it. Very moving and very inspiring, and probably one of the best  music documentaries I have ever seen. Well done!  Thank you very much.

Robert "Obie" Savage
August 18, 2011
Brooklyn, New York

he Edification of Weldon Irvine DVD, an all-region NTSC video, is available for purchase directly from the filmmaker for $20 + $5.00 for a total of $25.00 to cover international shipping & handling.

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