Yet another benefit of the approaching holiday season is a number of promising music documentaries coming our way.
The first such film of note is Billie, a documentary about probably the best female jazz singer, Bille Holliday. It is directed by James Erskine, who previously helmed the Emmy-nominated BBC docuseries The Human Face, as well as features like Who Killed the Honey Bee?, it explores the career of the iconic singer through the eyes and ears of journalist and fan, Linda Lipnack Kuehl. The film includes colorized archival footage, as well as its vault of previously-unheard interview footage from friends, family, and contemporaries like Tony Bennett, Charles Mingus, and Count Basie.
Next in line is Music, Money, Madness… Jimi Hendrix In Maui about one of the most talked-about Jimi Hendrix live performances, the one held under the Haleakala volcano in Maui, Hawaii. Part of the film’s footage was used in the ill-fated Rainbow Bridge film. This time around the fans will have a chance to take a look behind the scenes of the film, as well as the unusual circumstances leading up to Hendrix’s performance. The film and the accompanying live album are set for a November 20 release.
Certainly of note is the release of Southern Journey (Revisited). A film directed by Tim Plester. The film retraces the steps of musicologist Alan Lomax and British folk singer Shirley Collins who took a trek trough the Southern US states in 1959 recording performances as British monthly “Uncut” puts it, “collecting performances by church choirs, jug bands, chain gangs, barroom warblers, front-porch crooners and assorted other guitar-pluckers, harp-blowers, and banjo-botherers.” Among other themes it explores, the film also finds that the music means no less, and sounds every bit as fine, as Lomax and Collins discovered – and the film meets people who recall meeting those original explorers, back in 1959.