(out of 5)
Any music fan will enjoy this one, but blues fans will be especially bowled over by Antoine Fuqua’s beautifully assembled recording of the 100 year celebration of the blues performed live in New York City. Telling the story of the blues from the beginning, it begins with music inspired by African tradition before moving into songs of the Depression and onwards, all brought to life beautifully by a rich assortment of performers including Bonnie Raitt, India.Arie (try not to get shivers when she sings “Strange Fruit”), the phenomenal Ruth Brown, John Fogerty, Macy Gray, Natalie Cole, Aerosmith and, naturally, the grand finale, B.B. King. Fuqua does a great job of incorporating story elements to tell tales of the blues, including material used during the actual concert as well as his own footage, but wisely keeps it brisk while focusing on the palpable energy of the performances. A wonderful entry in the rockdoc genre and an outstanding achievement by the director.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Music by Steve Jordan
Production Design by Tom McPhillips
Film Festivals: TIFF 2004
Cast Tags: Aerosmith, Alison Krauss, Angélique Kidjo, B.B. King, Bill Cosby, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Chris Thomas King, Chuck D., Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown, David Johansen, Dr. John, Gregg Allman, Honeyboy Edwards, Hubert Sumlin, India.Arie, James Blood Ulmer, Jimmie Vaughan, Joe Perry, John Fogerty, John Hammond, Keb’ Mo’, Kim Wilson, Larry Johnson, Lazy Lester, Levon Helm, Macy Gray, Martin Scorsese, Mavis Staples, Natalie Cole, Odetta, Robert Cray, Ruth Brown, Shemekia Copeland, Solomon Burke, Vernon Reid