Sunday, August 17, 2008

Let's Hope This Deal Gets Done

Legendary music executive Jerry Wexler died last Friday at his home in Florida. If you don't know who Jerry Wexler is, read "Sweet Soul Music" by Peter Guralnick; better yet, listen to just about anything issued on Atlantic Records from 1953 through the late 1960s.

At the time of Mr. Wexler's death, he was working with my good friend Alan Elliott to bring to life a documentary about the making of "Amazing Grace," Aretha Franklin's great gospel record from 1972.

The film, which was orignally shot by the late Sydney Pollack, ended up in the Warner Brothers vault because the production company was never able to reach an agreement with Aretha.

Alan told me several months ago that he was working with Jerry Wexler to get this movie financed and released. I'm confident Alan will figure out a way to secure the financing to get this done.

After Mr. Wexler's death, Alan discussed the project with writer Ethan Smith for an article that appeared in Saturday's Wall Street Journal:

"Jerry always would say, 'My contribution to that session was that I brought a profane rhythm section into a sacred space,'" recalls Alan Elliott, a former Atlantic staff record producer.

* * * * *

"All the energy he poured into these phone calls at 91, you can only imagine what he must have been like 50 years ago," Mr. Elliott says.

* * * * *

Mr. Wexler and drummer Bernard Purdie felt that the rehearsals for "Amazing Grace," which Mr. Pollack also shot, were even more powerful than the actual sessions. Mr. Wexler was overseeing sound mixing on the rehearsals near the time of his death. The film is now being edited.
Over at Al's blog, he describes, as only he can, the events that sparked his involvement with this project.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this documentary hits the big screen one of these days.

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