Gary Keys, filmmaker, died at 81

  Dead Famous

Gary Joe Keys, born February 12, 1934 in Detroit, and died on August 9, 2015 of gastrointestinal disorder in Manhattan, he was an American filmmaker.

Gary Keys, a filmmaker whose documentaries captured some of the most important figures in jazz from the 1960s through the 1980s – notably Duke Ellington, the subject of three of his films.

Mr. Keys, who started out as a producer of jazz and pop concerts in the late ’50s, filmed Ellington and his orchestra on a tour in Mexico that he organized in connection with the 1968 Olympic Games.

The ensuing documentary, “The Mexican Suite,” for which Ellington composed some original music, gave viewers an intimate look at the bandleader and his musicians at work.

In “Memories of Duke” (1980), Mr. Keys used much of the same concert footage but added interviews with musicians who had worked with Ellington.

“Duke Ellington: Reminiscing in Tempo” (2006) offered a collage of performances and personal recollections.

In the early ’60s, Mr. Keys helped produce and program some of the first “Jazz in the Garden” summer concerts at the Museum of Modern Art.

He also produced concerts at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center by Stan Getz, Dionne Warwick, the Supremes, Simon and Garfunkel, Judy Garland and Stevie Wonder.