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Questlove’s directorial debut is a moving look at the forgotten, other music festival in 1969, the multi-day concert that took place in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park) at the Harlem Cultural Festival. This “Black Woodstock” was filmed in its entirety, but then the footage sat in a basement for 50 years, marginalized, ignored, and mostly forgotten.
With a keen eye and ear for the performances, which include Stevie Wonder, B.B. King, Sly and the Family Stone, and Nina Simone, Questlove expertly intertwines firsthand accounts of people in attendance and concert footage, grounding the scene squarely in the cultural change that was going on in the world, in the United States, in New York, in Harlem in the hot, politically-charged summer of 1969. It feels like we’re watching the emergence of Black pride in real time as we see and hear the story unfold, all set to a passionate and inspirational live music soundtrack.
Summer of Soul is a must-see documentary about a time and place that was a touchstone for cultural and musical revolution, even more so than the better-remembered and better-publicized Woodstock, and which deserves its day in the sun, now more than ever. Don’t sleep on this.
This easily bingeable six-part documentary is every bit as good as the pitch: iconic producer Rick Rubin interviews iconic musician Paul McCartney one on one in a recording studio.
In fact, it’s so much better than that. Rick has the multitracks of select Beatles, Wings, and McCartney songs to dissect and play with as they talk about the entirety of McCartney’s amazing career and how all the songs were created. Of course he does.
Shot in sensuously moody black and white, this intimate interview brings us right into the room with Rubin and McCartney and lets us feel like we’re eavesdropping on a reverent conversation between two amazing musical minds. Rick asks all the right questions, and Paul has answers that are at turns amusing, enlightening and yes, even amazing.
Some stories we’ve heard, some we haven’t, and I daresay some have another side. But there’s no way to come away without a new appreciation of the Beatles, George Martin, and the amazing musicianship of McCartney, who should honestly be mentioned in the list of the best bassists of all time in addition to the list we know: greatest songwriters of all time.
There’s magic here. Don’t wait. Watch it now. Streaming on Hulu.
Another year, another killer collection of hypnotic syncopated songs by Rochester’s mighty psych trio, King Buffalo.
Steadfast, slightly upbeat and relentlessly mesmerizing despite the somewhat despairing poetry of the lyrics, The Burden of Restlessness fits right into the canon of King Buffalo’s quickly growing catalog.