Horn From The Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story

HORN FROM THE HEART: The Paul Butterfield Story is a feature-length documentary about the life and career of legendary blues musician Paul Butterfield. A white, teenage harmonica player from Chicago’s south side, Paul learned the blues from the original black masters performing nightly in his own back yard. Muddy Waters was Paul’s mentor and lifelong friend, happy to share his wisdom and ability with such a gifted young acolyte.

The interracial Paul Butterfield Blues Band, featuring the twin guitar sound of Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, the rhythm section of Sam Lay and Jerome Arnold and the keyboards of Mark Naftalin, added a rock edge to the Chicago blues, bringing an authenticity to its sound that struck a chord with the vast white rock audience and rejuvenated worldwide interest in the blues. The band’s first LP, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band released on Elektra Records in 1965, was named “#11 Blues Album of All Time” by Downbeat.

The only artist to perform at The Newport Folk Festival in 1965, The Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969, Paul would continue to break new ground in the blues and to stand up for racial equality until his death at age 44 in 1987 of a drug overdose. Through his music and words, along with first-hand accounts of his family, his band mates and those closest to him, HORN FROM THE HEART: The Paul Butterfield Story tells the complex story of a man many call the greatest harmonica player of all time.

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Sam Lay in Bluesland

CHICAGO, March 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Sam Lay, the blues living legend and inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, receives a phenomenal tribute in his documentary, Sam Lay in Bluesland. Produced by Starr Sutherland, directed by John Anderson, and executively produced by Michael Prussian, the original film is set to debut on WTTW Chicago on April 6, 2017.

Against a backdrop of the troubled, racially turbulent 1960s, Sam’s singular life, and career are told through his own words, music, and dozens of one-of-a-kind clips from 16mm footage Sam shot while playing decades of gigs that have never been shown in public prior to this film. The documentary features appearances by music greats such as Iggy Pop, Corky Siegel, Elvin Bishop, and his late contemporary James Cotton, who passed just last week. The film also features new performances by The Sam Lay Blues Band, The Siegel-Schwall Blues Band, and Sam Lay & Corky Siegel.

The film will air twice in the first week of April: WTTW HD on April 6, 2017 at 10:00 pm CDT and WTTW Prime on April 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm CDT.

Recognized as much for his signature double-shuffle beat as for his sartorial style — his capes, crowns, canes, and cowbells are the stuff of legend. Sam, who recently celebrated his 82nd birthday, has played a key role in the evolution of the blues for almost 60 years. A free spirit whose musical innovation, unmistakable groove, and explosive power helped create the blueprint for Chicago blues, Sam has earned his place in the Blues, Jazz and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame. He continues to write, record, and perform today.

Sidemen: Long Road To Glory – Blues Music Documentary

Let’s help this vital Kickstarter music project make its goal today. The blues are an indigenous art form native to America. Preserving on film these seminal sidemen for future generations is paramount.

Sidemen: Long Road To Glory- Award Winning film about the lives of bluesmen Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith.

Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony will be held on February 12, 2017. The CBS network will broadcast the show live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The most prestigious party associated with the event is the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala. The festivities take place tonight, Saturday, February, 11 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

This year’s guests will include Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Ringo Starr, Metallica, Pharrell Williams, John Legend, Michael Keaton, Jane Fonda, Nile Rogers, Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, Neil Young, Brian Grazer, Larry King, Andrea Day and Wiz Khalifa.

Clive Davis’s influence has been felt for 50 years in the music industry. He will be honored with a documentary, Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives which opens the 16th Annual Tribeca Film Festival, at Radio City Music Hall on April 19, 2017. After the screening, an all-star music concert will take place featuring performances by Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson and Earth, Wind & Fire. (to name a few)

The documentary is based on Clive Davis’s 2013 bestselling autobiography:

I admire Clive Davis who was President of Columbia-CBS Group in the heyday (1967-1973) at Big Black Rock on 52nd Street in New York City. This was a significant period that expanded my rock music appreciation.

An early pop signing of his was the British folk-rock musician Donovan, who enjoyed a string of successful hit singles and albums released in the U.S. on the Epic Records label.

Clive Davis went on to further success by founding Arista Records in 1975 by signing Patti Smith, Barry Manilow, and after Whitney Houston.

He’s 84 and still a pivotal force in the recording industry as Chief Creative Officer of Sony Music Entertainment.

Mavis!

Mavis! is the first feature documentary on gospel/soul music legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples and her family group, The Staple Singers. From the freedom songs of the ’60s and hits like “I’ll Take You There” in the ’70s, to funked-up collaborations with Prince and her recent albums with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Mavis has stayed true to her roots, kept her family close, and inspired millions along the way.

Featuring powerful live performances, rare archival footage, and conversations with friends and contemporaries including Bob Dylan, Prince, Bonnie Raitt, Levon Helm, Jeff Tweedy, Chuck D, and more, Mavis! reveals the struggles, successes, and intimate stories of her journey. At 75, she’s making the most vital music of her career, winning Grammy awards, and reaching a new generation of fans. Her message of love and equality is needed now more than ever.

FEATURING

The Staple Singers
Jeff Tweedy
Chuck D
Julian Bond
Bonnie Raitt
Bob Dylan
Levon Helm
Marty Stuart
Al Bell
Prince
Steve Cropper
Sharon Jones

DOC NYC – Music Documentaries

 

I wish I had gotten it together to attend this event in the city. Chuffed to discover that there will be several music documentary films shown. Two of which I have covered on this blog, Bang! The Bert Berns Story and Soundbreaking.

A third music documentary is the The Terry Kath Experience. Terry Kath, one of the tragedy’s of rock whose guitar blazed the trail with Chicago Transit Authority in 1968. The Whole World Is Watching still rings true in the music of our heart with the #NOTMYPRESIDENT protests.

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The Terry Kath Experience is a trip into the mind of one of the most underrated guitarists in rock history. Kath was one of the original members of the band Chicago whose guitar playing and voice has been praised by such icons as Jimi Hendrix and Joe Walsh. The film follows first-time filmmaker Michelle Sinclair, Terry’s daughter, as she searches for the truth surrounding the life and untimely death of her father.

 

Soundbreaking: Stories From The Cutting Edge of Recorded Music

I find it interesting when we are allowed a further look inside the recording process. I can’t wait to see what is in store with these wide ranging eight PBS episodes.

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Sir George Martin had a last project: a documentary series on the impact of recorded music. Unfortunately, the legendary Beatles producer died before the final work was completed, but his spirit imbues every frame of Soundbreaking: Stories From The Cutting Edge of Recorded Music, an 8-part series that airs on PBS beginning  Nov. 14.

Each hour-long episode tackles a different topic, including recording vocals, the electrification of instruments, the artistry of sampling and the rise of the music video.

The Blues Society – Augusta Palmer

The Memphis Country Blues Festival (as it came to be known in succeeding years) had a shoestring start, organized by the Memphis Country Blues Society, an ad hoc group consisting of counterculture figures, musicians, and fans, including Robert Palmer, who would go on to write the seminal book Deep Blues and become the first pop music critic for the New York Times. His daughter, Augusta Palmer, a filmmaker and professor at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York, is seeking to tell the story of the festival in a documentary called The Blues Society.

You can contribute to the crowdsourcing campaign here.

Country Blues Festival: 50th Anniversary

From 1966-1969, the Memphis Country Blues Festival was held at The Overton Park Band Shell (now the Levitt Shell). This racially integrated festival was significant in its use of blues, rock and soul music in a time of segregation in Memphis. In 1969, the footage of the festival was broadcast nationally on Sounds of Summer, hosted by Steve Allen.  This hour-long footage features performances by The Bar Kays, Johnny Winter, Bukka White, Rufus Thomas, Furry Lewis, Moloch, Jim Dickinson, Sid Selvidge and many more.

On Thursday September 8th at 7 p.m. the film, The Blues Society will be shown at the Levitt Shell to celebrate the 50th anniversary.  A panel discussion will follow the film with Robert Gordon, Augusta Palmer, and others.

Chasing Trane

“Chasing Trane” reveals the critical events, passions, experiences, and challenges that shaped the life of John Coltrane and his revolutionary sounds. It is a story of demons and darkness, of persistence and redemption. Above all else, it is the incredible spiritual journey of a man who found himself and, in the process, created an extraordinary body of work that transcends all barriers of geography, race, religion and age.

The film narrated by Academy-Award winner Denzel Washington makes its début at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday, September 9th.

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John Scheinfeld, whose directing credits include 2006’s The U.S. vs. John Lennon and 2010’s Who Is Harry Nilsson (and Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?, wrote and directed Chasing Trane. No theatrical release date is set yet.