“The Blues are the roots and everything else is the fruits” is a quote from Willie Dixon. Martin Scorsese is a man who I think would agree with that sentiment, and he made a big contribution to public understanding of the principle with his television series ‘The Blues’ some years ago. A native of New York, which is not well known as a Blues town, Martin has made many excellent music documentaries in a career that has been dominated by exceptional feature films, which have earned him a roomful of Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, BAFTAs, Palmes d’Or and Golden Globes, as well as seeing him awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic!
A long series of big films followed, including Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, Goodfellas, Cape Fear and Gangs of New York, and Marty won all the Awards the film industry has to offer. He also found time to direct the video for Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’, but a much bigger contribution to music came after the turn of the century with the epic TV documentary ‘The Blues’. Marty supervised a seven-part documentary series of films by directors like Wim Wenders, Mike Figgis and Clint Eastwood. Marty’s own directorial contribution was his adaptation of Peter Guralnick‘s ‘Feel Like Going Home’, and the films looked at themes like African retentions, Piano Blues, the African-American experience of urbanisation and more contemporary forms like hip-hop. In Marty’s own words, he was looking at “the music behind our music”. He went on to direct the documentary about Dylan’s early career ‘No Direction Home’, and his most recent music project was ‘Living in the Material World’ about the life of ex-Beatle George Harrison.
In mainstream cinema, Marty continues to achieve the twin goals of critical acclaim and box-office success, and among many future plans are a bio-pic of Sinatra and a TV series on the History of Rock.