Archive for the 'DVD reviews and blurbs' Category

Make It Funky: The Music That Took Over the World

       This gem of a film is a rich blend of performances and interviews that document the sound, spirit, legacy, and impact of the rich musical and cultural traditions of New Orleans. A key city in the evolution of jazz, funk, rock and roll, zydeco, and R&B, the New Orleans sound is a multi-cultural gumbo of musical traditions that have been slow cooked for flavor and are always served red hot. This film features many of the biggest names in New Orleans music and is a great introduction to the vibrant musical culture of the city. If you have never been to JazzFest in New Orleans then this film is the next best thing.

The Last Of the Blue Devils

       This documentary filmed in the 1970s captures some of the best musicians from one of the most important musical scenes in Jazz history: Kansas City. Artists like Count Basie and Charlie Parker are featured, and the story of the great Kansas city Jazz scene is told through both archival footage as well as intimate jam sessions. The soul, heart, humor, and genius of these artists is captured beautifully in this incredible document of a magical era gone by. A must see for any Jazz lover.


Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony

       Amandla is a musical documentary that captures the powerful role played by music and dance in the struggle to end South African apartheid. Never has such fierce revolutionary music sounded so beautiful and inspiring. This film is a stunning account of the South African resistance movement as well as the culture, music, and spirit of the South African people. Amandla is a powerful testament to both the human spirit and the power of music.



           Not long after the Watts riots in California, the astoundingly great soul record label Stax put on an epic concert in LA that was attended by more than 100,00 people. Billed as “the black Woodstock,” this event was a wild success with red hot performances from Rufus Thomas, Isaac Hayes, the Staples Singers, Albert King, and the Barkays. This DVD captures the timeless moment beautifully through great performances, interviews, and footage from the event and Watts streets. Also featured are hilarious and insightful commentaries from Richard Pryor and concert goers as well as a beautiful speech from Jesse Jackson. This multi-layered film is like a journey through the heart and soul of African American music and features funk, soul, gospel, and blues. Perhaps more importantly, though, it is a soulful look into the culture and people that created this timeless music.