Mel Tormé Would Be Proud of Jazz Great Jennifer Leitham

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

July 13 2012 3:00 AM ET

Andrea, what attracted you to Jennifer's story? How did you first hear of her story?
Andrea Meyerson: I used to produce an annual event called L.A. Women's Fest at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre. It was a five-hour show featuring music and comedy by women and for women. In 2006, Logo has asked me to film the production to air on their network. Jennifer was the bassist for Sweet Baby J'ai who was one of our featured singers that year. 

When Jennifer was interviewed on film backstage, she revealed that she had transitioned and the Hollywood Reporter had just done a story on her. I was in the edit bay watching the footage and frankly, I was surprised and intrigued. I had no idea she was transgender. 

I saw her play solo a few months later and was completely mesmerized by her playing. I had never seen a bass player command the instrument like that before. I approached her that night and told her I may be interested in doing a documentary about her. We met shortly thereafter and connected beautifully and agreed to move forward. At that time, all the documentaries I had seen about transgender people were about the transition — the angst, the family, the partner, the doctor visits. I loved that Jennifer was living her life as she was meant to and was so positive and happy. I was really taken with her talent as a musician and her beautiful spirit as a person and felt we could really create an uplifting film that would both enlighten and entertain people.

Tags: film

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