“He found Ray Charles, he introduced Eric Clapton to Aretha Franklin, he fell asleep on Mick Jagger” — Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner in AMERICAN MASTERS “Atlantic Records: The House That Ahmet Built.”
The Nashville Film Festival kept me away from the blog awhile — it’s been almost two weeks since my last post — but it’s a great week to be back. Instead of working on the novel that’s been decorating my bedside table for the last two weeks, I decided to flip through the new GQ before going to sleep last night. In the May “Essentials” column, there were the usual recommendations I’d expect from the magazine: Spider-Man 3, Wilco, Dinosaur Jr., Parker Posey, PBS…..???? I can’t recall the last time GQ, or any contemporary Men’s mag, endorsed a PBS show, but that’s just what it does by making Wednesday night’s AMERICAN MASTERS: AHMET ERTEGUN: THE HOUSE THAT AHMET BUILT “what everyone SHOULD be talking about.” It also endorsed WKRP in Cincinatti on DVD, but who can argue that?
Before his death at the age of 83 in December 2006, Atlantic records’ founder Ertegun recorded hours of interviews over a period of four years for the film. Those interviews are joined with more interviews with a staggeringly diverse and talented lineup of artists and music-business heavyweights: Chris Blackwell, James Blunt, Solomon Burke, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Aretha Franklin, David Geffen, Taylor Hackford, Mick Jagger, Mick Jones, Kid Rock, Ben E. King, Henry Kissinger, Leiber and Stoller, Wynton Marsalis, Sergio Mendes, Bette Midler, Paolo Nutini, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Percy Sledge, Jann Wenner, Jerry Wexler and Ertegun Family Members.
Ertegun was a young Turkish immigrant when he heard African-American music in the rigidly segregated Washington, DC, nightclubs of the 1940. He quickly recognized that “all popular music stems from black music, be it jazz or rock ’n’ roll or rap.” He took these unique sounds to England, where they merged with the European sensibility, and then imported that fusion back the the States. He co-founded Atlantic Records in 1947 and created the “The Atlantic Sound,” single-handedly changing the direction of contemporary music. Ertegun wrote music, produced music, defined careers and changed lives.
AMERICAN MASTERS: AHMET ERTEGUN: THE HOUSE THAT AHMET BUILT airs on Wednesday, May 2, 2007, 8:00-10:00 p.m CDT on NPT-CHANNEL 8 .
Tonight at 8 p.m. CDT on NPT-CHANNEL 8 is part two of the FRONTLINE/AMERICAN EXPERIENCE joint venture THE MORMONS. While last night’s installment focused on the history of Mormonism, detailing Joseph Smith’s revelations and Brigham Young’s leadership, tonight’s turns “to the church’s 20th century transition from reviled outsider to an influential part of the American mainstream; its avid missionary program; its attitude toward heterodoxy and its emphasis on family and genealogy” (THE WEEK, which made it the “Show of the Week”).
From yesterday’s New York Times:
“The installment would be interesting enough if it merely related the fascinating story of the founding and evolution of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the religion more commonly known as Mormonism. But it also manages to mix in, through some well-chosen talking heads, an intriguing discussion of what faith is, what religion is and what the Mormon story has in common with Judaism, Islam and early Christianity.”
THE MORMONS also comes with an informative companion web site for you to learn more and join in the discussion.