The Blues Season 1
S01 E01Sep 28, 2003
Feel Like Going Home Sep 28, 2003 Director Martin Scorsese (The Last Waltz, Raging Bull, Gangs of New York) pays homage to the Delta blues. Musician Corey Harris travels through Mississippi and on to West Africa, exploring the roots of the music. The film celebrates the early Delta bluesmen through original performances (including Willie King, Taj Mahal, Otha Turner, and Ali Farka Toure) and rare archival footage (featuring Son House, Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker).Says Scorsese: "I've always felt an affinity for blues music — the culture of storytelling through music is incredibly fascinating and appealing to me. The blues have great emotional resonance and are the foundation for American popular music."
S01 E02Sep 29, 2003
Soul of a Man Sep 29, 2003 The Soul of a Man is a 2003 documentary film directed by Wim Wenders as the second installment of the documentary film series "The Blues" produced by Martin Scorsese. The film explores the musical careers of blues musicians Skip James, Blind Willie Johnson and J. B. Lenoir.The film is narrated by Laurence Fishburne in character as Blind Willie Johnson, and features performances by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Beck, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, James 'Blood' Ulmer, T-Bone Burnett, Eagle Eye Cherry, Shemekia Copeland, Garland Jeffreys, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Los Lobos, Bonnie Raitt, Lou Reed, Marc Ribot, Lucinda Williams, and Cassandra Wilson. The film won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming, and the Audience Award at the São Paulo International Film Festival. It was also screened out of competition at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.
S01 E03Sep 30, 2003
The Road To Memphis Sep 30, 2003 The Road To Memphis is a documentary directed by Richard Pearce. The film follows the career of Blues musician B.B. King. It features performances by B.B. King, Bobby Rush, Rosco Gordon and Ike Turner, as well as historical footage of Howlin' Wolf and Rufus Thomas.Said Pearce: "The Blues is a chance to celebrate one of the last truly indigenous American art forms, before it all but disappears, swallowed whole by the rock and roll generation it spawned. Hopefully we'll get there before it's too late."The film is part of The Blues, a seven part series, with Martin Scorsese acting as executive producer.
S01 E04Oct 1, 2003
Warming by the Devil's Fire Oct 1, 2003 Director Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep, My Brother's Wedding, To Sleep with Anger) presents a tale about a young boy's encounter with his family in Mississippi in the 1950s, and intergenerational tensions between the heavenly strains of gospel and the devilish moans of the blues.Says Burnett: "The sound of the blues was a part of my environment that I took for granted. However, as years passed, the blues slowly emerged as an essential source of imagery, humor, irony, and insight that allows one to reflect on the human condition. I always wanted to do a story on the blues that not only reflected its nature and its content, but also alludes to the form itself. In short, a story that gives you the impression of the blues."
S01 E05Oct 2, 2003
Godfathers and Sons Oct 2, 2003 Director Marc Levin (Slam, Whiteboys, Brooklyn Babylon) travels to Chicago with hip-hop legend Chuck D (of Public Enemy) and Marshall Chess (son of Leonard Chess and heir to the Chess Records legacy) to explore the heyday of Chicago blues as they unite to produce an album that seeks to bring veteran blues players together with contemporary hip hop musicians. Along with never-before-seen archival footage of Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, are original performances by Koko Taylor, Otis Rush, Magic Slim, Ike Turner, and Sam Lay.Says Levin: "When we were shooting Sam Lay and his band at the Chicago Blues Festival, they were playing Muddy Waters' classic, 'I Got My Mojo Workin.' I closed my eyes and was transported back to when I was a 15-year-old hanging in my buddy's basement listening to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band for the first time. My life was changed that day, and 35 years later the music's still shakin' my soul. The feel of that day in the basement is what I have set out to capture in this film."
S01 E06Oct 3, 2003
Red, White and Blues Oct 3, 2003 Director Mike Figgis (Stormy Monday, Leaving Las Vegas, Time Code) joins musicians such as Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Tom Jones, performing and talking about the music of the early sixties British invasion that reintroduced the blues sound to America.During the 1960s, the UK was the location for a vibrant social revolution. London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle all had their own music scenes. Musicians from Belfast and Glasgow moved to London to be part of the club scene there.The post-war traditional jazz and folk revival movements produced the fertile ground for a new kind of blues music — entirely influenced by the authentic black blues of the USA, and, for the most part, entirely ignored by the good citizens of the US. It was new in the sense that certain key musicians took the blues and molded it in an entirely personal way to fit the new awareness of the UK in the sixties. Importantly, for the most part they continued to pay homage to the originators of the music and to make a huge global audience aware of the likes of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Freddie King, etc.Mike Figgis' film examines the circumstances of this vibrant period. Figgis himself participated, albeit in a minor way, in this period of history, playing in a blues band with Bryan Ferry, a band that was the nucleus for the first Roxy Music.A series of musical interviews with the key players of the blues movement is augmented with a live session at the famous Abbey Road recording studios. Tom Jones, Jeff Beck, Van Morrison, and Lulu all improvise around some classic blues standards, accompanied by a superb band made up of younger and not-so-younger-musicians. The results are electrifying.Says Figgis: "I'm interested in why there was such excitement about this black music among Europeans. To that end, I've put together a group of these musicians, augmenting the line-up with some younger talent as well. Hopefully the resulting recording session of some blues standards, and the discussions that follow, shine some light on why at a particular moment the blues was reinterpreted abroad and reintroduced in a new form that was universally embraced."
S01 E07Oct 4, 2003
Piano Blues Oct 4, 2003 Piano Blues is a 2003 documentary film directed by Clint Eastwood as the seventh installment of the documentary film series "The Blues" produced by Martin Scorsese. The film features interviews and live performances of piano players Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck, Dr. John and Marcia Ball.In the documentary Eastwood explores his lifelong passion for piano blues and jazz. He interviews artists as Ray Charles, Dr. John, Marcia Ball, Pinetop Perkins, Dave Brubeck, Jay McShann, Henry Gray and shows archival performances of Fats Domino, Otis Spann, Art Tatum, Albert Simmons, Pete Johnson, Jay McShann, Big Joe Turner, Nat King Cole, Martha Davis, Professor Longhair, Charles Brown and Duke Ellington. Remarkable are two early performances of the Chess Records houseband with Otis Spann, Willie Dixon and, probably, Fred Below.Eastwood shows his interest in jazz music with an interview and performance of improvising musician Pete Jolly, who introduces Phineas Newborn. Also Oscar Peterson and Thelonious Monk are present in the film with several performances. Eastwood explains his love for piano playing because of how his mother brought many Fats Waller records home saying; "This is real piano playing!".