Summer of Music: Mavis!
(Outdoor Live Music and Documentaries)
@ Morningside Park
(Lower Lawn, Morningside Avenue and 112th Street)
Live Music Tribute to Mavis Staples, The Staples Singers and Stax Records
with DJ Stormin' Norman and the NYCHA Youth Choir
Jessica Edwards, 2016, 80 min
The first feature-length documentary on gospel/soul music legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples and her family group, the Staple Singers. From the delta-inflected gospel sound she helped pioneer in the 1950s, to the “message songs”of the civil rights era marching beside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to massive hits such as “I’ll Take You There” in the soul-filled Stax era, to collaborations with Prince in the ‘80s, and her recent Grammy-winning work with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Mavis Staples is one of the most influential and enduring vocalists of our time and a true American icon. Director Jessica Edwards entwines archival material, newly filmed interviews and live performances to create a cinematic portrait quite capable of converting the uninitiated into acolytes, and elevating casual interest to flood-tide levels of respect and affection.
One of the best music documentaries of this decade. — Paste Magazine
Among a collection of stand-out biographies that premiered at South by Southwest, Mavis! was the feel-good star, a story of survival, family, change and adapting to it. — Billboard
A spirited and captivating bio-doc that richly deserves the exclamation point in its title.
An expansive and inspiring portrait of singer and civil rights pioneer Mavis Staples.
— Washington Post
SXSW 2015 – Talk of the festival — New York Times