Summer of Soul won a well-deserved Academy Award last night. Questlove did an outstanding job on this film.
There’s lots of great music. The film includes gospel, jazz, and Latin music as well as R&B. The performances are great. You see Stevie Wonder on the verge of greatness. Sly and the Family Stone were dynamic. As far as I know, they were the only musicians to perform in Harlem and Woodstock in 1969. I saw them in Philadelphia that year and they were great. Nina Simone’s performance was one of the highlights.
Questlove has incorporated interviews with performers and people who worked on the concerts. Some of them are seeing the footage for the first time. One great move was his inclusion of interviews with people who attended the concerts.
The best thing Questlove did was place the concerts in the context of the larger world in 1969. He rightly focuses on the fight for racial equality and even includes the moon landing (which is an indelible memory for those of us old enough to remember it).
I watched it on DVD. Now that it won an Oscar, I hope it is released on Blu-ray. The old film is in surprisingly good shape.
Questlove on ‘Summer of Soul’ Secrets, The Roots’ Future, His Sly Stone Documentary