Whether you’re joining recording sessions with Taylor Swift, Quincy Jones, Lady Gaga, or Travis Scott, or sitting in on rehearsals for Beyonce’s iconic Coachella performance, getting to know the process and context of an artist whose work has valiantly soundtracked your own life is an act that takes the music itself even further, giving you a greater appreciation for the tracks in your pocket.
Directed by Liz Garbus and tightly woven with Simone’s music, What Happened, Miss Simone? examines the star’s public career and private life, her childhood in segregated North Carolina, her survival of domestic abuse, her struggle with addiction, the experience of living with undiagnosed bipolar disorder, revelations of abuse against her daughter, and her role in the civil rights movement and its impact on her career.
Directed by John Scheinfeld, the documentary drops you into the moment when Coltrane was fired by Miles Davis in 1957, battling heroin addiction, then jumps back in time to his childhood in North Carolina in the ’20s and traces his life back to this moment, living through the Jim Crow South, joining a navy be-bop band during World War II, and building up his career as a jazz saxophonist.
Ultimately, it’s an overwhelmingly fascinating two hours of incredible voices that finally get the recognition they deserve, including prodigious singer Darlene Love, who found her beginnings in The Blossoms, the first Black background singers working in the studios amongst a predominantly white industry, and one of the most prolific session groups of the ’60s — think Bobby Pickett’s "Monster Mash," Frank Sinatra’s "That’s Life," Betty Everett’s "The Shoop Shoop Song".
Featuring interviews with musician friends and family members, along with stunning animations and artwork that bring archival photos and clippings to life, Chasing Trane is a compelling examination of the jazz icon, all while the music genuinely doesn’t stop for the film’s duration. is a global, multi-platform media and entertainment company.
Director Lana Wilson crafts an intimate portrait of Swift, through plenty of interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, taking you into the songwriting sessions of her album Lover, backstage on the spectacular Reputation tour, through her relatively short journey from teen country singer to global superstar, through the sexual assault lawsuit she won against radio host David Mueller, and the breaking of her political silence.
Some of the singers interviewed have on-screen listening sessions of the tracks they provided backup for — there’s a particularly strong moment watching Merry Clayton unpack being a Black singer recording backup for Lynyrd Skynyrd’s "Sweet Home Alabama" during the ‘70s (considering Alabama saw many key events in the American civil rights movement).
Wielding an incredible trove of personal videos and public interviews, Broomfield lays out the pieces of the prodigious star’s tragically short life, from growing up in New Jersey to her meteoric rise to stardom, through the twisted relationship between fame and addiction for Houston, and how many of those around her neglected to step in and truly help.
Quincy moves through the decades of music alongside Jones’ own life story — he discovered music amongst a hard childhood on the South Side of Chicago during the Great Depression in the ’30s, before diving into the be-bop scene in New York in the ‘50s.
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