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The Original Guitar Hero and The Power of Music

Great jazz guitarist JACK WILKINS, after watching the 30 min. demo “short version of the film”:
“Hi Dean. Wow, that’s fantastic! You really nailed the feeling of Lonnie and his legacy. Very proud to be part of this. I’m a-buzz after watching. It’s really something special.

“This is the HOLY GRAIL of the story of the origins and development of artistry on guitar—with special focus on the great Lonnie Johnson, The ORIGINAL Guitar Hero. It’s based on Dr. Alger’s internationally acclaimed book: The Original Guitar Hero and The Power of Music - The Legendary Lonnie Johnson, Music and Civil Rights.
5 Star book review by former editor Paul Trynka in the famous music magazine, MOJO:
“First Lonnie biog aims to restore his reputation as one of the most influential guitarists—ever. This ambitious book sets out to place Lonnie Johnson as a cross-cultural visionary in the veins of Charlie Christian or Jimi Hendrix, and succeeds brilliantly. With a lucid explanation of Johnson’s music, plus many anecdotes both poignant and inspiring, this excellent biography does full justice to an underappreciated musical titan.”
Because Lonnie J had not received the prominent, wide recognition he deserved, this is also the ultimate Great Musical Figure Rediscovered story.

B.B. King: “Lonnie Johnson was the most influential guitarist of the 20th Century.”
The film includes striking material from Alger's historic recorded interview with B.B. King, BB’s passionate voice saying so much.
Some of that is in the 30-min. demo short version of the film, highly praised by legendary British documentarian Tony Palmer (over 45 international prizes, 14 Gold Medals from the New York Film Festival, etc.; http://www.tonypalmer.org/):
“‘Dr D’ !!: I read your very authoritative book. You put us all to shame in forcing us to realise how much Lonnie Johnson has been overlooked…. Your ‘short film’ shows Lonnie’s greatness as a musician and the need for proper recognition very eloquently. Your emphasis on the influence of Lonnie and others on the Civil Rights Movement really resonated with me. This is a fascinating subject, brought memorably to life by you. Much impressed, keep in touch.” —TONY P, Isolde Films, London

As BB, Buddy Guy and other greats lamented, the legendary Lonnie J hasn’t gotten the recognition he deserves.
AND, this film is about how guitar-playing developed after Lonnie laid down many of the foundations of artistry on guitar, and how this powerful, expressive instrument became the dominant instrument in popular music and a cultural icon with the playing of later Guitar Heroes like B.B. King, Chet Atkins, Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Jack White—all influenced by Lonnie J.
The film includes striking photos and film of great guitars and great guitarists; that and the music dramatically demonstrate the importance, compelling nature, and wide appeal of this story.

A sub-theme tells how music and major musicians played a major role in progress on Civil Rights, and how the guitar has been a powerful instrument for expression on other societal issues.

The film also shows how Lonnie was a significant influence on Elvis Presley's singing(!) and on Bob Dylan.

The demo film ends with a series of brief performance segments of great guitarists, in various styles, showing the expressive power of that unique instrument, including Mark Knopfler, Chet Atkins, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt—all influenced by the legendary Lonnie J—culminating with a wonderfully humorous comment by B.B. King on great slide guitar work by Derek Trucks illustrating those expressive capacities.

  • Dr. Dean Alger/ DrDmusic Productions
  • Dr. Dean Alger
  • Dr. Dean Alger/ DrDmusic Productions
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Director Biography - Dr. Dean Alger/ DrDmusic Productions

Dr. Dean Alger has accomplished exceptional things in multiple fields. Born and raised in California, while at Whittier College he had formal vocal music training, sang in the fine A Cappella Choir, and performed in a folk music group (in addition to being a student leader). He earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science at the University of California, Riverside.

In the music realm, besides his internationally acclaimed sixth book, THE ORIGINAL GUITAR HERO and THE POWER OF MUSIC – The Legendary Lonnie Johnson, Music and Civil Rights, he wrote extensively for the website www.jazz.com (now offline). He lectured on Lonnie Johnson at the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University in Newark, NJ. He wrote the entry on Lonnie Johnson for the new Grove Dictionary of American Music (Oxford University Press). He taught a course on the blues in the University of Minnesota’s College of Continuing Education.
He’s also a guitarist, singer and songwriter—musical name: “Dr. D.” He wrote a song in tribute to the great Lonnie Johnson, “The Legendary Lonnie J;” writers in blues, jazz and beyond have said they like it—as did B.B. King. That serves as the musical soundtrack to the credits at the end of the demo short version of the film/”Short Film.” Dr. D has also written protest/satire songs like “The Bankers’ Greed Blues” (praised by Pete Seeger and Bill Moyers).

His principal field in political science and practitioner work in public affairs has been the media and communications. He has authored four books on the media, politics, the democratic process and society, including The Media and Politics, 2nd edition. As a public affairs & media consultant, he was Consultant to Minnesota’s Secretary of State, etc. He was a speaker-participant in the distinguished international conference, The 7th Salamanca Forum in Spain, with other speakers like the previous President of the European Parliament; his paper, “The Media and the Quality of Democracy in the 21st Century, got high praise from a series of significant leaders.

The Media and Politics and other research and writings, his extensive service as a political analyst for commercial and public TV and radio, and his advisory work on media and communications for election campaigns and officials all demonstrate Dr. Alger’s profound understanding of the nature and uses of the motion picture forms of TV and film—and how people respond to messages and images in them.

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