Executive producer Martin Scorsese plays host as a virtual firmament of blues stars take over Radio City Music Hall for a night of lovingly played standards and shared memories. For all the talk of the form's indomitable spirit, the picture that emerges is of a cultural artifact in desperate need of preservation as signified by the presence of recovering stroke victim Ruth Brown and lung-removal survivor Hubert Sumlin. Director Antoine Fuqua assembles the concert footage, backstage interviews and archival material into a retrospective of the black experience in America (both musical and otherwise), and he only occasionally makes the mistake of letting the pithy commentary intrude on the sizzling performances. Two of the best nonmusical moments are Vernon Reid's reminder that blues pioneers were not always the nicest of people, and Solomon Burke's bizarre recollection of an especially uncomfortable gig: playing a KKK rally.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.