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Musician documentaries on Netflix

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I was sick all week, so been watching a lot of Netflix.

 

I found a bunch of musician documentaries. So far I've watched the ones on:

 

Nina Simone: Trained in classical piano, and took to it like it was nature. It was fascinating to see both her natural talent, and the staggering racism she encountered in the South. Much of the film talks about her move into race activism in her later career. It talks about the violence she encountered from her husband, and her own violence towards her daughter, perhaps a product of the mental illness that showed itself more clearly in her later life.

 

James Brown: Always loved his sound and energy. Father of funk ("on the ONE"). Good to get some history on his early days (abandoned by mom, then dad, raised by aunt in a brothel), how he got started in music, how driven he was to be a name and be respected, his staunch conservative stance in the midst of the civil rights movement, his harmful side, his mistreatment of his band.

 

John Coltrane: Famous sax player, said to be extremely nice to others. How he started out, how some big names saw potential for greatness and spent hours with him doing private practice, interviews with other big names in jazz, how he developed his own sound which became more and more esoteric (I think he would say spiritual). I was part of a vocal trio, and got to sing one of his sax numbers called "Naima" as a 3-part harmony vocalese. We weren't around long enough to make it really tight, but it was beautiful.

 

Michael Jackson: This was more a mashup of video taken during what was going to be his last show (that never happened). It doesn't cover his early life or oddities, just the background of putting together a show, how dancers were chosen, and how some of the technical details were worked out.

 

David Bowie: This gave a pretty good overview of his life, and how he got started in music and developed into a star (though they kind of tell it like he was unknown and then a superstar, which makes it feel like they left something out). It catalogs his search for a self-image that would catch attention, even if it wasn't "him". It only briefly covers his attitude about performing art regardless of what others think and without explaining it, though I felt that was one of the more important aspects of his approach (which is why he worked with David Lynch, and also spurred other talents to do their art regardless of the audience). 

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Twisted Sister was a surprise. 

 

Total respect for them after watching. I used to make fun of them but those guys worked their asses off.  

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Muscle Shoals was on there a while back. And the Wrecking Crew is a good one too. Both about the lesser known studio musicians who were behind most of the famous hits of the 60's. 

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Watched Nat King Cole and Quincy Jones. Really good.

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