Private Project


Well known internationally as the Jazz Man, My God-father Keith was a mystery to many of his Jazz Cafe patrons in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK and, like King Canute, refused to bow to the changing of the musical tides or even the ageing process.

A man who would refuse you entry on a whim, a hard man feared from his past and a strangely vulnerable romantic with women, but most of all he was the epicentre of a band of similar brothers, musicians, thespians, eccentrics and alcoholics – the pride of Newcastle Jazz.

He was the embodiment of a movement that is artistic, stubborn, perverse and deeply romantic. And something died with his passing, this film celebrates the man, the Jazz movement but mainly a never say die spirit that he took to his grave.

Old fashioned in many ways, his attitude to women was similarly out of time. In no way an example of how to be he's important as he shows how things were, and by implication, how much has changed. As a woman making this film I've been challenged, exasperated and confounded. But the key is challenged - I love making films where the subject isn't easy as the journey is so much more enriching as I'm forced, like the audience, to reassess so much I've taken for granted.

I always thought I knew my godfather, the man I’ve literally known all of my life. I was wrong, this is my personal journey to discover this most unlikely chaperone of my youth, My Godfather, Keith Crombie, The Jazz Man.

  • Abi Lewis
  • Patrick Collerton
    The Boys Skin Who Fell Off, Joe Maddison's War, Trip, Careless Whiskers: The Unseen George Michael
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Arts, Culture, Lifestyle, History
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 10 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    November 30, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    50,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom, United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Abi Lewis

I've worked in the television and film industry for over a decade. Starting out as an assistant director in drama television and now as an online content producer for short form documentary series, commercials, music videos and promotional films.

THE JAZZ MAN will be my debut film as a Director.

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Director Statement

I was driven to make the documentary THE JAZZ MAN as, like Keith himself, the jazz cafe was becoming old and worn and my gut feeling told me it was time someone documented Keith and the history of the venue before it was too late.

Keith had always been part of my life; on the day I was born he captured the first ever pictures taken of my family, and me. Years later I would film his final interview weeks prior to his death.

What I didn’t quite expect was to unearth so much more about Keith’s character and lively past, which placed him right at the epicenter of one of the most exciting periods in musical history in the North-East of England.

Since his sudden passing in late 2012 the story has become ever so more poignant and is real tribute to Keith and all he stood for.

Characters like Keith’s are an anomaly, an endangered species that need to be remembered and documented. With my personal connection to Keith and a current revival in the popularity of jazz related programming, there couldn’t be a better person to tell this story at a more suitable time.