On the surface it looks a near impossible task – celebrating the cultural diversity and innovation of America’s musical scene in a 45 minute IMAX film.
Yet that’s what MacGillivray Freeman Films’ America’s Musical Journey aims to do.
Narrated by Morgan Freeman, the documentary centres on Grammy Award-nominated singer and songwriter Aloe Blacc’s travels around America exploring the country’s musical roots.
Much of the documentary centres on the history and work of Louis Armstrong with Elvis Presley also getting screen time. Brief references are made to the history of jazz, the blues, country and hip-hop.
Guests joining Blacc on screen include Latin music stars Gloria and Emilio Estefan, New Orleans music hero Dr John, Chicago jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis and teenage banjo-player Willow Osborne.
The documentary features plenty of spectacular shots of cities such as New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Nashville, Memphis and Miami. It is easy to understand why the documentary is supported by Expedia and Air Canada!
Adding to the documentary’s colour are performances from numerous groups including Memphis jookin dance star Lil Buck, the Detroit Youth Choir, Chicago footwork maestros Pause Eddie and Donnetta “Lil Bit” Jackson, the Bandaloop vertical dancers, the Fisk University Jubilee Singers, the Beale Street Flippers and even skydiving Elvis impersonators.
If you’re looking for an in-depth look at America’s musical history you’ll most likely (and understandably, given its running time) leave America’s Musical Journey feeling a little flat.
However if you’re looking for a bright, colourful and continually moving documentary which showcases all that is appealing about IMAX technology it may hit the right notes!
America’s Musical Journey is currently playing at IMAX.
Melbourne. Visit IMAX Melbourne for tickets and more information.
- movies, reviews Melbourne
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