More Than Music

I usually jump at the opportunity to produce videos involving music, musicians or composers. Music can be very inspiring, and it is a rare treat to be present while a musician's creative process unfolds.

The first long-form, music-related video I did was about a German-born vibraphonist named Lennie Cuje. It took about a year, and it was something I worked on between other assignments. The more time I spent with Lennie, the more complex his life's story became. Born the year Adolf Hitler came to power, this former Hitler Youth fell in love with jazz at age 12 right after the fall of the Third Reich. To Lennie, jazz represented individualism, improvisation and freedom of expression - all things that were stifled during his childhood in Nazi Germany.

I could have stopped reporting this story sooner than I did and produced a very nice package. However, if I had stopped just a few months earlier, I would have missed out on a lot of important details and the video would have turned out quite differently. I learned a great deal while shooting and editing "A Life Lived in 4/4 Time." I reflect on Lennie's story often - especially around the New Year, which happens to be his birthday. This year, he'll be 74.

In December, I worked on a story about another musician. Dominik Maican is a classical music composer who recently turned 18. It will be interesting to see if he can keep up with Lennie!

Christina Pino-Marina /

By Ju-Don Roberts |  December 30, 2006; 3:21 PM ET  | Category:  Christina Pino-Marina
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