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Leonard Cohen: One Year After

By Harvey Kubernik © 2017

Leonard Cohen, the Canadian songwriter/ poet/novelist and performer waived a physical goodbye at age 82 on November 7, 2016, just after the release of his 14th album, the uncompromising and urgent You Want It Darker.

In December 2016 I was invited to guest deejay on Los Angeles radio station The Sound 100.3 FM Classic Rock KWSD My Turn program. KWSD is Southern California’s classic rock station with over 1.3 million listeners.

The broadcast aired in January 2017. The studio overlooked the street in the mid-Wilshire district area where Leonard lived in a duplex. I dedicated “Hallelujah” to him.

It was my audio service of sitting shiva for Leonard.

November 7, 2017 will be the one year yahrzeit of his death.

My 2014 critically acclaimed book on Leonard Cohen, Everybody Knows, is now published in America, England, Russia, France, Germany, China and two different editions in Canada. It’s now out in paperback in the UK from Omnibus Press. Continue reading

BANG! The Bert Berns Story Out This Fall

Harvey Kubernik interview with BANG! co- director and editor Bob Sarles

© 2017 Harvey Kubernik

“BANG! The Bert Berns Story is the best music doc that I have seen. There is enough stuff for the geeks and for the newcomers to Bert Berns’ music. Seen it 4 times, could dig to see it a 100 more times.” —Paul Body

“Must see” – Billboard Magazine

“The new high-water mark for music documentaries” – Glide Magazine

“A remarkable story of hustle and heartache.” – Best Classic Bands

Abramorama and filmmakers Brett and Cassandra Berns recently announced that BANG! The Bert Berns Story is coming exclusively to Apple Music. Following BANG!’s successful film festival run and North American theatrical release, a fall 2017 global release is planned on Apple Music followed by a global offering via iTunes Movies.

Abramorama originally released the film theatrically in April, and it played to enthusiastic crowds in theaters across the country.

Music meets the Mob in this biographical documentary about the life and career of Bert Berns featuring Van Morrison, Paul McCartney, Andrew Loog Oldham, Keith Richards, Ronald Isley, Doug Morris, Brooks Arthur, Jeff Barry, Richard Gottehrer, Bob Feldman & Jerry Goldstein, Carmine “Wassel” DeNoia,  Ben E. King, Mike Stoller, Wilson Pickett, Cissy Houston, Betty Harris, Garry Sherman, Jerry Ragovoy, Solomon Burke, Charlie Thomas, Ellie Greenwich, Don Drowty, Brenda Reid, Joel Dorn, Ilene Berns and many more.  Continue reading

Murray Lerner; September 12th re-release of Festival! by Criterion Collection

By Harvey Kubernik © 2017

Joni Mitchell Live Scheduled for 2018 release is a Murray Lerner documentary about Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now: Joni Mitchell Live at the Isle of Wight 1970.

Oscar-winning filmmaker Murray Lerner passed away on September 2nd in New York City at age 90.

Courtesy of MLF Productions, Inc

Born in Philadelphia Pennsylvania on May 8, 1927, raised in New York City, and a graduate of Harvard University English major in 1948, Lerner’s award-winning and trend-setting musical documentaries include examinations of Isaac Stern, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, the Newport Folk Festival, the Moody Blues, Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, Jethro Tull, the Who and Leonard Cohen.

Scheduled for 2018 release is a Lerner’s documentary about Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now: Joni Mitchell Live at the Isle of Wight 1970.

Also allegedly readied for February 2018 is Lerner’s complete one-hour film of the Doors’ set at the 1970 Isle of Wight.

On September 12th, Criterion will release a director-approved special edition of Festival! It’s a new reconstruction and remastering of the monaural soundtrack utilizing the original concert and field recordings and presented uncompressed on the Blu-ray DVD.

The disc will also feature When We Played Newport, a new program incorporating archival interviews with Lerner, music festival producer George Wein, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Pete Seeger, and Peter Yarrow. In addition, there’s also a new feature Editing Festival, with Lerner, associate editor Alan Heim, and assistant editor Gordon Quinn.

There’s also a selection of complete outtake performances, including Clarence Ashley, Horton Barker, Johnny Cash, John Lee Hooker, and Odetta. Package booklet text has an essay by critic Amanda Petrusich and artist bios by folk music expert Mary Katherine Aldin.

Over the years I interviewed Lerner a few times. Continue reading

Steely Dan and Walter Becker Interviews

By Harvey Kubernik c 2009 c 2011 c 2017

Walter Becker, songwriter, guitarist, bassist and co-founder of Steely Dan with Donald Fagen has died this past Sunday at the age of 67. No cause of death was announced.

Fagen wrote a posted tribute to Becker, stressing, “I intend to keep the music we created together alive as I can with the Steely Dan band.”

In 1977, one night I co-hosted a late night radio program on KPFK-FM in North Hollywood with deejay and music writer/critic Richard Cromelin, then with The Los Angeles Times, and we actually debuted Steely Dan’s Aja tracks over the radio.

Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen and Walter Becker drove over from their Malibu pads and chatted for a couple of hours, happily whipped out their acetate test pressing of Aja and the phone lines lit up. The duo spun “Black Cow” and “Deacon Blues” and some vintage jazz library selections during the world premiere of Aja.

A decade ago I conducted a phone interview with Walter Becker. His solo album 11 Tracks of Whack had just been released while Steely Dan’s Alive In America, was just about to be, as was the band’s Citizen Dan box set. Continue reading

O-T-I-S!

Otis Redding’s legacy continues and expands as the immortal singer and songwriter enjoys a visibility and retail renaissance.

By Harvey Kubernik c 2017

Redding was previously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Georgia Music Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame, and has been honored with a U.S. postage stamp.

In 2016 a mural was unveiled which reads “Try a Little Tenderness” in Madison, Wisconsin honoring Otis Redding by regional artist Henrique Nardi, with Cyla Costa and Jackson Alves. Nardi teaches graphic design and is a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Art Department.

Last September at the Macon City Auditorium, Steve Cropper of Booker T. & the MG’s along with additional acts Chuck Leavell, Eddie Floyd, Robert McDuffie, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, and a Reddings Reunion with Dexter Redding, Otis Redding III and Mark Lockett performed at the An Evening of Respect Tribute Concert coinciding with what would have been Otis Redding’s 75th birthday.        Continue reading