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Bruce Ricker, Jazz Filmmaker, Dies

Filmmaker often collaborated with Clint Eastwood on jazz and music films

Sting, Clint Eastwood and Bruce Ricker on set on Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way
Dr. John, Clint Eastwood and Bruce Ricker
Bruce Ricker and Clint Eastwood

Bruce Ricker, a filmmaker best known for The Last of the Blue Devils, his early documentary about Kansas City blues and jazz musicians, as well as a series of well-received music-doc collaborations with Clint Eastwood, died on May 13 in Cambridge, Ma. The cause of death was pneumonia. Ricker was 68.

Interestingly, Ricker had a circuitous route to his career as a music filmmaker. In his younger years, he worked as a police cadet, booking agent, social worker and cab driver before getting his law degree from Brooklyn Law School. A teaching fellowship at the University of Missouri in Kansas City turned into a fortuitous opportunity for Ricker, who hung out at local jazz and blues clubs in that city. A passionate fan of the music, he started filming the local players, including the legendary pianist Jay McShann.

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