Martin Scoreses Presents The Blues

Martin Scorsese Presents "The Blues"

Part Four of Four

First Appeared at The Music Box, November 2003, Volume 10, #11

Written by John Metzger


Piano Blues

Various Artists
Piano Blues: A Film by Clint Eastwood

A life-long pianist, Clint Eastwood frequently has turned to jazz and blues recordings to craft the soundtracks for his films. In Piano Blues, he utilized a mixture of archival material and new footage in order to explore fully the relationship of his chosen instrument to the genre’s growth and development. Presented nearly in chronological order, the album’s 20 tracks cut a wide swath through the history of blues and jazz, covering a 65-year span of time that runs from a 1938 tune by the Boogie Woogie Boys to a pair of tracks featuring Dr. John that were captured just a few months ago.

At first glance, the music showcased throughout Piano Blues may appear to paint the portrait with too broad a brush stroke, but upon further inspection, it proves to be a very carefully conceived collection. At the root of the set is Leroy Carr’s How Long Blues, which is featured in three extremely different interpretations: Jimmy Yancey’s sprightly solo rendition, Count Basie and His Orchestra’s easy-going swing arrangement, and a playful performance by a trio of pianists (Dr. John, Pete Jolly, and Henry Gray). Along the way, a few other well-chosen odds and ends — such as Art Tatum’s Tatum Pole Boogie and Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers’ Driftin’ Blues — are added in order to push the story along a straight line of thought. As a result, it’s a simple matter to hear from where artists like Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, and Thelonious Monk came as well as how they incorporated their own ideas and influenced the next generation. In truth, one can’t ask much more from a compilation than to be as enjoyable and insightful as Piano Blues turns out to be. starstarstarstar ½


46th Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Best Album Notes

46th Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Best Historical Album


Of Further Interest...

Part One: Feel Like Going Home: A Film by Martin Scorsese

Part Four: The Soul of a Man: A Film by Wim Wenders

Part Three: Warming by the Devil's Fire: A Film by Charles Burnett


Piano Blues is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!

The Blues: A Musical Journey (CD Box Set) is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!

The Blues: A Musical Journey (DVD Box Set) is available
from To order, Click Here!



1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2003 The Music Box