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Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues Review

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Series of Blues documentaries from the bushy eyebrowed genius

★★★★★

While not as cohesive or comprehensive as Tony Palmer’s pop history All You Need Is Love or Ken Burns’ Jazz, this seven-film series still has its share of highlights and insights.

Martin Scorsese’s Feel Like Going Home traces the blues’ odyssey from Mali to the Mississippi while, in The Soul Of A Man, Wim Wenders uses stylised recreations to celebrate the careers of the legendary Blind Willie Johnson, Skip James and J. B. Lenoir.

Charles Burnett adopts a faux road movie format to explore the blues’ gospel roots in Warming By The Devil’s Fire, while Richard Pearce contrasts the sounds of the glory days with those of the nostalgia boom in The Road To Memphis.

Clint Eastwood bends the rules to slip in a little keyboard jazz in Piano Blues, Mike Figgis assembles a gang of UK ’60s relics for Red, White & Blues, and Marc Levin forges a link between the Chess Records catalogue and contemporary hip-hop. The infotainment quality of the package is decidedly mixed, but it’s still a story well worth telling.

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