About This Episode
One of the most successful high school jazz bands in the country is in Broward County, South Florida, just steps away from highway I-95. Sweet Dillard chronicles the 2013-2014 school year of the Dillard Center for the Arts Jazz Ensemble, and their inspirational bandleader Christopher Dorsey.
The no-nonsense Dorsey lays downs the law from the first beat, calling out his students' tendency to form into cliques of black and white, automatically inhabiting separate sides of the rehearsal room, something he won't tolerate. "You don't have to like each other, but you're gonna respect each other," Dorsey declares. The documentary also follows several of the jazz students and their families, including: Ulysses, a keyboardist who lost his father at a young age; Chris, who once stole cars and sold drugs before breaking away from his pill-addicted mother; and Kim, an intense perfectionist with Asperger's Syndrome, who manages to shed his inhibitions with the band. At the end of the year, they travel to New York City for the national championships, determined to make their families and South Florida proud.