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Television Director John Beyer Dies

John Beyer, an Emmy Award-winning writer and director of many jazz-oriented television programs, died in his New Orleans home on Sat., Mar. 16.

Beyer’s work includes Woody Herman Remembered, a biographical tribute to the clarinetist, and Louis Prima: The Chief, a television special which featured Prima and his singer wife Keely Smith along with saxophonist Sam Butera. Beyer was also responsible for the Live from New Orleans television series which from show to show featured different jazz artists playing in New Orleans jazz clubs before a live audience. The Ellis Marsalis installment of Live from New Orleans was the first television production to feature Wynton and Branford Marsalis.

In 1985 Beyer began writing and producing the Great Chefs television series for the Discovery Channel. Though the show focused on cooking in the kitchen, and not on the bandstand, Beyer used an original jazz soundtrack produced by guitarist Charlie Byrd for the show.

Originally Published