Media Arts & Film Lab Hosts Personal Interview with Musician Phil Ranelin

Windward Communications
In celebration of Black History Month, Drue Metz, Widward’s Director of the Media Arts & Film Lab, recently conducted a one-of-a-kind interview with revered avant-garde Jazz expressionist and trombonist, Phil Ranelin. 

Put together as a way of furthering MAFL’s initiative to create opportunities for more diverse storytelling and representation, the interview was a cross-departmental collaboration including students and faculty from Windward’s Black Student Union. With Phil unable to appear on campus, Drue worked alongside BSU advisor Ryan Shelven and Windward Senior Michael Blevins to collect questions for Phil from teachers, parents, and other students from the BSU. In the interview, which was conducted remotely, Phil discusses the African-American Jazz movements in Detroit and L.A., his experience with film scores, composing and going on tour with celebrated artists and bands, and also a firsthand look at the cultural impacts of music, civil rights, representation, and growth during his time.

“I think it's important to expose our community to diverse stories and storytellers,” said Drue. “Phil is a special contributor to the jazz community as well as African-American culture in Detroit and Los Angeles, having founded and promoted a pro-Black culture magazine. The interview is lush with Phil's personal experiences facing the music industry, the civil rights movement, racism, love, and much more from his life. It's a wonderful interview that our community can learn from.”

Phil's life work has affected several communities in the arts and representation. On the occasion of his 65th Birthday, the City of Los Angeles and the entire 20 member City Council, along with Mayor James Hahn, declared that “May 25, 2004 be declared Phil Ranelin Day throughout the City of Los Angeles and designated Phil Ranelin and his music as Los Angeles Jazz Treasure.” 

Thank you to Phil Ranelin for sharing his time and stories. To view the full interview, please click here