The Filtered Excellence: April 6, 2017


Bob Geldof once asked us, “Where is the filtered excellence!?” It’s right here. Once a week we take a break from comedy to bring you this week’s picks of the best things to watch, the most interesting things to do, great things to try, the best picks to read, our favorite things to listen to and more.


WATCH THIS:

I Called Him Morgan.  The life and shocking death of jazz great Lee Morgan is the subject of this new documentary from Kasper Colin (My Name Is Albert Ayler.  While the film is loaded with performance footage, archival photos and remembrances from Morgan’s friends, fellow musicians and contemporaries, the star of the project is the person who ultimately took his life: Morgan’s wife Helen.  Using an interview that she gave one month before her death in 1996, Helen Morgan recalls how she met Morgan- who, at the time, was broke, homeless and in the midst of serious heroin addiction.  By all accounts, it was Helen who helped him kick the habit and get his life and career back on track.  But as the film reveals, the relationship took a sharp, abrupt turn, which led to Helen fatally shooting Morgan at a jazz club in the Village.  Colin also provides a bittersweet epilogue, covering Helen’s legal troubles and post-prison life, in which she tries to put the pieces of her shattered life back together.  Working with Oscar nominated cinematographer Branford Young (Selma, Arrival), Colin puts together a doc that is part history lesson, love story, true crime story and musical valentine to one of the most beloved musicians in jazz history.  Don’t be surprised if it makes the rounds during the awards season.  One of the year’s best.  I Called Him Morgan is now playing in New York and D.C. and will roll out in select theaters this Friday.  You can also go to www.icalledhimmorgan.com for more information.

 

Shot!  The Psycho-Spirtual Mantra Of Rock.  Hailed as ‘The Man Who Shot The Seventies’, photographer Mick Rock found himself at the center of a cultural revolution covering music, film and everything in between.  His extraordinary journey is the subject of this new documentary by Barnaby Clay. With Rock providing narration, its a wild travelogue that takes us from the emerging glam rock scene that came out of London; to the early days of punk that came of New York’s Lower East Side, right through the present day.  Rock was more than a musical photojournalist, he became close friends with David Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Queen among others.  He also details how he partied like a rock star and how those excesses led to several near death experiences.  While the focus is on Rock’s incredible 70s output, the film shows he’s still an in demand photographer today.  With a blizzard of iconic images and great stories, Clay has put together a wild, tripped out look at one of music’s greatest lensmen.  Shot! will be in theaters, iTunes and Amazon on Demand on Friday.  You can also go to http://www.mickrock.com/ for more information.

 

LISTEN TO THIS

 

Triplicate by Bob Dylan.  For his third exploration of The Great American Songbook, Dylan triples down:  30 songs spread out of three discs.  A double album is risky enough, but to try a triple album in a singles driven market is all but commercial suicide.  But we learned anything from Dylan over the past half century or so, he goes where the muse leads him and looking to break some, if not, all, of the rules.  Recorded at the legendary Capitol Studios with his current touring band, Dylan puts his own stamp songs that were closely associated with Frank Sinatra (‘The September Of My Years’, ‘My One And Only Love’, ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’, ‘When The World Was Young’); stage and screen (‘As Time Goes By’, ‘This Was Nearly Mine’) and much more.  Dylan, who also produced the set, doesn’t try to match the vocal power associated with the material, but instead captures both the intimacy, the feel and the emotion of the lyrics.  His world weary rasp makes the lyrics that much more poignant and makes this set the cure for whatever ails you.  Good things comes in threes and this triple set is a true charm.  Triplicate by Bob Dylan is available now through iTunes, Amazon and all major music retailers.  You can also go to http://www.bobdylan.com/ for more information.

 

Brand New Day by The Mavericks.  Ever since The Mavericks reformed in 2012, the group – which features vocalist/guitarist Raul Malo, guitarist Eddie Perez, Jerry Dean McFadden on keyboards and drummer Paul Deakin – had more than made up for the eight years they were inactive.  They’ve released three albums since 2013 including their latest effort, the appropriately titled Brand New Day.  It’s the first album on their own Mono Mundo label, and you can feel the loose, no pressure-for-hits approach throughout the 10 set.  It offers everything from Tex Mex (‘Rolling Along’, ‘I Will Be Yours’) Orbison-style ballads (‘I Wish You Well’, ‘Dammed If You Do’), 60s based pop (‘Easy As It Seems’) and a glorious title track that wears its love of Phil Spector’s ‘Wall Of Sound’ production proudly on its sleeve.  The band is in peak form, anchored, of course, by Malo’s operatic, yet soulful vocals.  This is another winner from a band in the midst of another creative peak.  One of the year’s best.  Brand New Day by The Mavericks is available now through Amazon, iTunes and all major music retailers.

 

Bloodlust by Body Count.  The 6th album from Ice-Ti’s thrash metal band taps directly into today’s explosive political climate.  Tracks such as ‘Civil War’, ‘No Lives Matter’ and ‘Black Hoodie’ tackles race relations, class warfare, cultural disconnect and police brutality in a blunt, in your face matter that even the most politically minded bands won’t dare to embrace.  ‘This Is Why We Ride’ looks back at Ice’s gang banging days unapologetically but from a survivor’s perspective.  There’s also a relentless cover of Slayer’s ‘Raining In Blood’ that is destined to get the mosh pit started.  With appearances by Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine, Randy Blythe of Lamb Of God and Sepultura’s Max Cavalera of Soulfy and Sepultura fame, this latest project only adds to the band’s constantly growing legacy and influence.  Bloodlust is available now through Amazon, iTunes and all major music retailers.

 

The Doors 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Doors, the L.A. based band’s debut album – widely considered on the greatest first offerings of all time – is getting the deluxe treatment.  Included is the original album – which is practically the band’s greatest hits by itself – in stereo and mono as well as a killer live set that was recorded at The Matrix in the spring of 1967.  The first album is reason enough to pick this up, but to hear the mono mixes and the band at the cusp of superstardom makes this reason even more compelling.  It’s also a great set to turn on someone who isn’t familiar to the awesomeness that is The Doors.  The Doors 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is available now through Amazon, iTunes and all major music retailers.

 

DO THIS

 

New York City: No Bullsh**t starring Robert DeNiro.  On May 8th, Robert DeNiro will be honored at The Film Society Of Lincoln Center’s 44th Annual Chaplin Award Gala.  As a primer to this vital fundraiser, The Film Society will host a one week retrospective featuring his best performances.  It will include his seminal work with director Martin Scorsese (Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The King Of Comedy, Goodfellas, Casino, Cape Fear), Michael Mann (Heat), Brian DePalma (Hi Mom!, The Untouchables), and the late Sergio Leone (Once Upon A Time In America).  Seeing any of these films are essential, but the real treat in the series is DePalma’s black comedy, ‘Hi Mom’, which featured DeNiro in one of his earliest starring roles; and Once Upon A Time In America, Leone’s 1984 epic which has been restored to its original 3 hour-plus cut.  As the title of this series indicated, this is all killer and no filler DeNiro, showing why he is one of the most decorated and beloved actors of our time.  No Bullsh**t starring Robert DeNiro will be at the Film Society of Lincoln Center April 12th through the 19th. You can also go to http://www.filmlinc.org/ for more information.

 

New York City:  Fab 5 Freddy and Greg Tate In Conversation.  Fred Brathwaite – better known to the world as Fab 5 Freddy – has been a fixture on the art and music world for since the late 70s.  He was close friends with Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Blondie name dropped him on their hit song ‘Rapture’.  Fab 5 Freddy was also the first host of ‘Yo MTV Raps’, giving the show instant credibiity among hip hop fans.  To coincide with his latest exhibition, Afro-Greco, Fab 5 Freddy will sit down with legendary Village Voice columnist and ‘Godfather of Hip Hop Journalism’ Greg Tate to discuss the influence they played in their respective career paths amidst the downtown and uptown New York City scenes in the 1980s.  Both are fantastic storytellers, so expect a deep, enlightening  conversation that will cover a range of topics and issues.  Fab 5 Freddy and Greg Tate In Conversation will take place at Pioneer Works on Saturday,  You can also go to http://www.pioneerworks.org/ for more information.

 

Los Angeles:  The TCM Classic Film Festival 2017.  A celebration of the rich and storied history of Hollywood returns once again for the annual TCM Classic Film Festival.  ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ is the theme for this year’s fest with but this year’s lineup is also peppered with great dramas celebrating major milestones.  Sidney Poitier and Norman Jewison will be in attendance as the festival kicks off with a 50th Anniversary screening of the Oscar-winning film, ‘In The Heat Of The Night’.  There will also be special 5-0 screenings of ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ and ‘Barefoot In The Park alongside a 60th Anniversary viewing of David Lean’s ‘The Bridge On The River Kwai’; a 75th Anniversary edition of ‘Casablanca’; a 40th Anniversary look at ‘High Anxiety’; and a 30th Anniversary screening of ‘Broadcast News’.  The centerpiece of this year’s festival is a 50th Anniversary screening of Mike Nichols’ ‘The Graduate’, which has just undergone a full digital restoration and is set to make a return run in theaters at the end of the month.  This is just the tip of a very large iceberg as some of the greatest comedies and dramas ever made will air (with very special guests on hand for pre and post show discussions) as they were meant to be seen:  on the big screen.  This is a film lover’s equivalent of a Dream Weekend,   The TCM Classic Film Festival runs through April 9th,  You can also go to www.filmfestival.tcm.com for more information.

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Earl Douglas is a writer/photographer based in New York City. A frequent contributor to The Interrobang, Earl is also Executive Director for the New York chapter of The Black Rock Coalition. Earl worked in radio for nearly two decades at WNEW-FM and XM Satellite Radio, which included being the on-air producer for Carol Miller, Scott Muni and Ron & Fez, and a contributor to Opie & Anthony. Earl has also independently published a number of books including Black Rock Volume 1, Urban Abyss, Mobile Uploads, and For Shimmy. His latest project is the photojournalism magazine PRAXIS, which is available exclusively through Blurb.com.

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