Sunday, March 23, 2008

Curtis Mayfield DVD

This week, I received the following press release:

Los Angeles, CA -

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Impressions, Reelin' In The Years Productions and Universal Music Group International are proud to announce the May 6, 2008 release of the documentary Movin' On Up: The Music And Message Of Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions on DVD. The two-hour film tells the incredible story of one of the greatest artists and most important R&B groups of all time. Also included in the documentary are 22 complete vintage television performances from The Impressions and Curtis Mayfield's solo career filmed between 1965 and 1973.

In addition to telling the history of Curtis Mayfield as an artist and The Impressions as a group, the film explores how The Impressions' music was a virtual soundtrack for the civil rights era in the ‘60s. In an interview filmed exclusively for the documentary, civil rights leader Ambassador Andrew Young (who worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) speaks about the effect classic Impressions songs such as "People Get Ready," "Choice of Colors" and "We're A Winner" had on the movement, and how often their songs were sung for inspiration in churches and during marches (some led by Dr. King.) The film also shows how Curtis Mayfield's solo work helped define the early ‘70s. Chuck D, leader of the rap group Public Enemy, provides context about Curtis's music as a soundtrack to the grim realities of urban life culminating with his 1972 masterpiece Superfly. In addition, Carlos Santana, speaks about Curtis Mayfield's unique genius as a songwriter, artist and teacher and also comments on the spiritual nature of his music.

Also featured in the film are Impressions Fred Cash and Sam Gooden, who discuss the history of the group, beginning with their origins in the late ‘50s and share incredible stories about many of their classic songs as well as give insight into Curtis as a songwriter.

In addition, producer/arranger Johnny Pate speaks about the recording process of their classic songs and reminisces about the Impressions in the studio. Altheida Mayfield, Curtis's widow, provides tender insight into the personal side of Curtis, including his inspirations and aspirations as well as stories about Curtis as a husband and family man. Curtis Mayfield himself speaks through several archival interviews filmed throughout his career.

Movin' On Up: The Music And Message Of Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions includes a wealth of staggering full-length performances filmed throughout America and Europe beginning with The Impressions singing their classic hit, "It's All Right" and progressing through the group's career including the only known performance of "People Get Ready" (filmed in 1965), a stirring medley of "We're A Winner/Amen" from 1968, as well as "Woman's Got Soul," "Choice Of Colors," and a host of others. Performances from Curtis Mayfield's solo career include "We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue" from his first solo album, as well as five amazing songs performed in 1972 from the classic Superfly album including "Freddie's Dead," "Pusherman," and "Superfly" - all featuring Curtis's astounding band - one of the greatest (and most underrated) in the history of soul.

Movin' On Up: The Music And Message Of Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions also features a bonus section with five additional performances from 1972 including "We're A Winner," "Movin' On Up" and "Mighty Mighty (Spade And Whitey)" as well as an additional version of "Freddie's Dead" filmed live in a recording studio. Also included are an additional 20 minutes of interviews bringing the total running time to three hours.

Movin' On Up: The Music And Message Of Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions also includes a 28-page booklet with an extensive essay by GRAMMY® award-winning writer Rob Bowman, who also conducted the interviews and co-produced this DVD. The booklet includes rare photographs and memorabilia featuring never-before-seen images from the Mayfield family's personal archives.

For Movin' On Up: The Music And Message Of Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions every effort has been made to locate the best possible sound and video; each of the performances has been re-transferred and re-mastered from the best-quality, original masters (some resting in the television vaults for more than 40 years). In the case of lip-sync performances, the original master recordings have been used, replacing the original TV broadcast audio and making for a much more enjoyable viewing and listening experience.

Reelin' In The Years Productions LLC is the world's largest music footage library and has produced over 30 DVD releases including the four-volume The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1969 DVD series. Released to universal critical acclaim, Volume One was nominated for a GRAMMY® award in the category of "Best Long Form Music Video." 2006 saw the release of the certified-platinum The Temptations - Get Ready, The Definitive Performances 1965-1972, the certified-gold Marvin Gaye - The Real Thing In Performance 1964-1981 and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - Definitive Performances 1963-1987, the first official DVD anthologies of classic archival television performances by Motown artists. 2007 DVD releases included Dreams To Remember: The Legacy Of Otis Redding and The Stax/Volt Revue Live In Norway 1967. Also released to international acclaim have been the 16 titles in the Jazz Icons DVD series.

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