Jazz Cafe: Standing in the Shadow of Motown

Posted by Michele Sigg–

On Thursday, June 3, the Racial Justice Fellowship hosted a movie and discussion night, led by Robert Messore, featuring:

Standing in the Shadows of Motown, a 2002 American documentary directed by Paul Justman that recounts the story of The Funk Brothers, the uncredited and largely unheralded studio musicians who were the house band that Berry Gordy hand-picked in 1959.” (Movie caption)

The documentary was fascinating and wonderfully well crafted, with rich snippets of interviews of band members. I was transfixed half the time, listening to tune after tune of music that I already knew for having heard it in so many songs growing up. The Funk Brothers were an extraordinary group of Black and White musicians, absolutely brilliant in their musicianship and exceptional in their friendship and loyalty one for the other. This loyalty lasted even through the late ’60s when the assassination of MLK and other Black civil rights leaders caused other music groups to fracture along racial lines. As Robert said, “music brings people together”–and the Funk Brothers were a positive example of that.

For those who would like to view this excellent piece of Black musical history, it can be viewed for free on Tubi tv (with commercials) or on Amazon Prime or rented on Youtube.


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