Does the name Chadwick Boseman sound familiar? Earlier this year he portrayed baseball great Jackie Robinson in the highly acclaimed biopic “42.” Now Boseman is set to play James Brown in an upcoming film chronicling Brown’s rise from poverty in Georgia to becoming the funk, soul and rap ambassador in the 1960s and 70s earning him the title “Godfather of Soul.” Prior to the film “42,” the 31-year old actor had appeared mostly on TV, guesting on Fringe, Justified, Cold Case and a recurring role on Persons Unknown.
The as-yet-untitled biopic will be directed by “The Help” filmmaker Tate Taylor and will be shot frame by frame in Mississippi, Taylor’s home state. Shooting is expected to begin this fall. Now, if we could just get the Miles Davis and Marvin Gaye biopics into production all will be well with the world.
Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool was hailed as Time Magazine’s 1994 Album of the Year and was one of the first projects to explore the impact of AIDS upon the African American community. At the time the recording was released, a documentary film was broadcast on PBS and released on VHS home video. To date, Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool has never been released on DVD. The documentary explores the consequences brought on by AIDS and features the live innovative collaborations between renowned jazz performers and contemporary hip hop/acid jazz artists that are heard on the album. If you’ve never seen this documentary it’s a must watch. Below is the documentary in it’s entirety. We haven’t seen a documentary with this much social impact combined with innovative jazz/hip hop collaborations since the release of Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool. Some of the collaborations include Donald Byrd, Guru and Ronny Jordan; Mc Solaar and Ron Carter; Me’Shell NdegéOcello and Herbie Hancock; The Roots and Roy Ayers; Digable Planets and Lester Bowie plus many more.
Winnie Mandela starring Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Hudson as Winnie Mandela and co-starring Terrence Howard as former South African President Nelson Mandela, is set to be released this fall in US theaters. The film is an adaptation of Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob’s biography “Winnie Mandela: A Life.” The bio-picture was written and directed by Darrell J. Roodt.
“Winnie Mandela has been a labor of love,” said Roodt. “We wanted to uphold the prestige of the Mandela name and tell her story as accurately and respectfully as possible. We took great pride and responsibility in creating this movie, and we are proud to release the never-before-seen dramatic love story this fall. The brilliant acting by Jennifer and Terrence, supported by the excellent cinematography and outstanding title song by six-time Academy Award nominee Diane Warren [sung by Jennifer Hudson,] make this film incomparable.”
View the trailer below:
Last night I spent the evening watching an incredible disco documentary called The Story of Mel Cheren and West End Records. In this fantastic 80 minute documentary the late Mel Cheren, a recording executive, pioneer and activist tells the story of how he founded the West End record label that promoted disco and fostered the creation of the 12 inch vinyl single, which gained its greatest popularity with club DJs in New York. And while working for another label, Scepter Records, before founding West End, Mel Cheren came up with the idea of instrumental B-sides for dance singles. Mel Cheren also talks about how he became the financial backer that helped his business partner and former lover, Michael Brody, create the world famous Paradise Garage in 1977 out of what was once a parking garage at 84 King Street in the SoHo section of NYC.
The Paradise Garage was the epicenter of DJ culture in the 1970s and ’80s and was the focal point of the Manhattan gay disco scene. Culturally mixed party goers quickly fell under the spell of the legendary DJ Larry Levan, where he became a “DJ God” whose sets became referred to as “Saturday Mass”. The film also gives you some insight on the struggles of the gay community, their push for equality within the club circuit and the horrible, unfortunate grip the AIDS epidemic had within the scene. By the late 1980s the AIDS epidemic had taken the lives of so many of Mel Cheren’s friends that he felt compelled to do something. He founded 24 Hours for Life, a nonprofit group that raised money from the music industry for AIDS relief.
I can’t say enough about how wonderful and nostalgic this documentary is from the incredible music that came from the West End label to the heavy-weight DJs like Louie Vega, Marly Marl, Danny Krivit, Junior Vasquez and Nicky Siano, to name a few, who weigh in to pay their respects to what was once a great New York club culture. This is a must watch for DJs, disco lovers, collectors and music lovers in general. It’s worth every second.
This priceless piece of history is the 1968 30-minute BBC documentary that follows the legendary jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins during his self-imposed hiatus from the music business and playing live clubs.
At the time Sonny Rollins was frustrated and very vocal about club conditions for all jazz musicians. He felt (for good reason) that the lifestyle that clubs promoted allowing the use of alcohol, drugs and smoking were not healthy for musicians and loud, disruptive talking was not conducive to the over all jazz atmosphere. He wanted better for himself and his colleagues. The footage captures Rollins instead opting to play his horn on the Williamsburg Bridge and in wooded areas. He speaks very passionately about his disapproval of seedy club conditions which happen to still be valid today for a lot of musicians.
Always nice to revisit this fantastic 1997 Stevie Wonder documentary that takes a look back at the making of Songs In The Key Of Life, one of the greatest albums in popular music history. Released in 1976, Songs in the Key of Life became among the best-selling and most critically acclaimed albums of Stevie’s career. The full length documentary below features Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy, Dorothy Ashby and more.
Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. In his compelling new film TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM, award-winning director Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others.
These gifted artists span a range of styles, genres and eras of popular music, but each has a uniquely fascinating and personal story to share of life spent in the shadows of superstardom. Along with rare archival footage and a peerless soundtrack, TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM boasts intimate interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting to name just a few. However, these world-famous figures take a backseat to the diverse array of backup singers whose lives and stories take center stage in the film. TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM stars singers Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Judith Hill, Claudia Lennear, Lisa Fischer and Tata Vega.
Visit the Twenty Feet From Stardom Official Website For Screening Dates In Your City.