Standing in the Shadows of Motown

“As a musical homage to forgotten heroes, it may be the most infectious, joyous restoration job to grace a Dolby system.” — David Fear,
San Francisco Bay Guardian

Director: Paul Justman
Year: 2002
Country: USA
Running time: 108 mins
Production co: Elliot Scott/Rimshot Productions
Producers: Sandy Passman, Allan Slutsky, Paul Justman
Screenplay: Walter Dallas, Ntozake Shange
Photography: Doug Milsome, Lon Stratton
Editor: Anne Erikson
Sound: Allan Slutsky, Ted Greenberg
Music supervisor: Allan Slutsky
Narrator: Andre Braugher

The Funk Brothers, Richard ‘Pistol’ Allen, Jack ‘Black Jack’ Ashford, Bob Babbitt, Johnny Griffith, Joe Hunter, Uriel Jones, Joe Messina, Eddie ‘Chank’ Willis, Benny ‘Papa Zita’ Benjamin, James ‘Igor’ Jamerson, Eddie ‘Bongo’ Brown, Earl ‘Chunk of Funk’ Van Dyke, Robert White, Joan Osborne, Gerald Levert, Me'Shell Ndegeocello,
Bootsy Collins, Ben Harper, Chaka Khan, Montel Jordan, Tom Scott

Festivals: Toronto, Vancouver, London 2002
“You didn’t know that you wanted to see a movie about the Funk Brothers, but, believe me, you do. You’ve probably never heard of the Funk Brothers, and neither had I. But anybody who loves Motown (and who in his right mind doesn’t?) has heard their music over and over. Anybody who lived through the 60s danced to the Funk Brothers’ beat. These unsung heroes were the sound of Motown; it was their grooves behind Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, the Marvelettes, the Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, the Four Tops and Stevie Wonder… Seven of the Funk Brothers have survived to tell the tale – and they are wonderful storytellers, particularly percussionist-vibraphonist Jack Ashford and piano player Joe Hunter… Using their arrangements, they take to the stage in Detroit to perform more than a dozen classics with singers Joan Osborne (“What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”), Ben Harper (“I Heard It Through the Grapevine”), Me’Shell Ndegéocello (“You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me”), Gerald Levert (“Shotgun”) and others. These dynamite numbers reinforce a point made in the movie: with these guys laying down the grooves, just about anybody could have made these songs hits.” — David Ansen, Newsweek

“Exhilarating… The near giddiness with which seasoned, no-bullshit musicians, producers and songwriters analyze and pay tribute to the music and its creators is contagious; their joy as both fans and students leaps off the screen.” — Ernest Hardy, LA Weekly