MARTIN SCORSESE is achieving a dream and he is collaborating with Road Movies and Clear Blue Sky Productions (CBSP) to produce THE BLUES, a series of 7 films that explore the essence of the blues - its emotional resonance - and examine how this music has so deeply influenced people and other forms of music the world over.
THE BLUES is the culmination of a great ambition for Scorsese - to honour the music of which he is so fond, to preserve its legacy and to work closely with skilled feature film directors, united in their desire to celebrate the music.
The impressive list of directors committed to the project includes SCORSESE himself, CHARLES BURNETT ("To Sleep With Anger", "The Annihilation of Fish"), CLINT EASTWOOD ("Honkytonk Man", "The Bridges of Madison County"), MIKE FIGGIS ("Leaving Las Vegas, "Timecode"), MARC LEVIN (his first feature "Slam" won the Sundance Festival and the Cannes Camera d'Or), RICHARD PEARCE ("Leap of Faith, "The Long Walk Home") and WIM WENDERS ("Wings of Desire" and the Oscar nominated "Buena Vista Social Club").
The series executive producers are Martin Scorsese, Road Movies' Ulrich Felsberg and CBSP's president Jody Patton. The series producer is Alex Gibney. Margaret Bodde of Cappa Productions is the Producer. International sales for THE BLUES are handled by Road Sales Mediadistribution (TBC).
Under the guiding vision of Martin Scorsese, each director will explore the music through his own personal artistic expression. The series is motivated by a central theme: how the blues evolved from parochial folk tunes to a universal language. As Willie Dixon, the great ambassador of Chicago blues once described, "The blues are the roots; everything else is the fruits."
The series begins with the journey from Africa to the Mississippi Delta - where the music grew from field hollers, work songs and church choirs - follows it up the Mississippi to the juke joints, house parties and recording studios of Memphis and Chicago, and ends with the emotional embrace of this African-American music by musicians all over the world. In celebrating the transcendent, timeless quality of the music, the series offers the history of the blues as a lens that reflects contemporary music. Thus, many of the episodes include performances from today's popular musicians.
The series is part of a larger initiative to celebrate the power and influence of blues music and educate the public on its significance. It includes a comprehensive Web site, educational materials, a companion book published by HarperCollins, and a CD box set. The project is partnering with Experience Music Project in Seattle to produce a benefit concert at Radio City Music Hall in February 2003, designed to raise money for music education. The concert will kick off a year-long tribute to the blues, which will also include a traveling museum exhibit.