Universal has released the following:
Most Comprehensive Blues CD Campaign in History Accompanies Landmark TV Series “The Blues” Presented By Martin Scorsese. 5-CD Boxed Set, 7 Soundtrack Albums, Best Of The Blues And 12 Individual Artist Compilations, including the Allman Brothers Band, Set For September Release.
“We’re on the brink of something that is going to be very big…the series is going to bring in a lot of people who don’t know or only vaguely know about blues.” (The New York Times)
More than 20 new album packages released collaboratively in September 2003 by Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) and Sony Music’s Columbia/Legacy, with repertoire included from the vaults of many other labels, will accompany the monumental seven-film PBS series “The Blues,” executive produced by Martin Scorsese. “The Blues” premieres Sunday, September 28 from 9–11 p.m. and airs on consecutive nights through October 4.
Proclaimed “Year Of The Blues” by the U.S. Congress, 2003 marks the 100th anniversary of composer W.C. Handy first hearing the blues and igniting an explosion of worldwide interest and influence that has evolved into jazz, R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, soul and hip-hop. “The Blues” TV series features personal and impressionistic films from seven world-famous directors–Scorsese, Charles Burnett, Clint Eastwood, Mike Figgis, Marc Levin, Richard Pearce, and Wim Wenders–who capture the essence of blues music, explore its roots and delve into its inspirational role in today’s music.
Along with the release of soundtrack albums for each of the films, the five-CD deluxe box set Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues–A Musical Journey will be issued by UMe. A definitive overview of the blues as well as a comprehensive collection of the music from the series, with more than 100 songs, the collection ranges from recordings made over 80 years ago to new recordings made specifically for “The Blues.” Included are the best and most important blues recordings ever made by artists from W.C. Handy and Bessie Smith to Son House and Robert Johnson, from B.B. King and John Lee Hooker to Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Howlin’ Wolf, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues–A Musical Journey also features an introductory essay by Scorsese.
A more concise single-CD album, Martin Scorsese Presents The Best Of The Blues, released by UMe, features signature recordings by Robert Johnson, Bessie Smith, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Jimi Hendrix, Keb’ Mo’, Stevie Ray Vaughan and others, plus three new recordings from the series itself.
In addition, 12 individual artist “best of” compilation albums will be issued under the Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues banner: Muddy Waters (UMe), Eric Clapton (UMe), B.B. King (UMe), J.B. Lenoir (UMe), Jimi Hendrix (UMe), The Allman Brothers Band (UMe), Bessie Smith (Sony), Stevie Ray Vaughan (Sony), Son House (Sony), Keb’ Mo’ (Sony), Taj Mahal (Sony) and Robert Johnson (Sony).
Elements which are part of the “The Blues” project also include a collector’s edition DVD box set of the entire series from Sony and UMe (individual DVDs will be released in 2004); a 13-part radio series hosted by Keb’ Mo’ on public radio stations nationwide; an educational initiative with online lesson plans and free teacher’s guides; a companion book with preface by Scorsese, afterword by Chuck D, selections from previously published works and contributions from contemporary writers, and on-the-road promotions and exhibitions at film, music and heritage events nationwide.
Information is also available on the Internet through thebluesonline.com (from UMe and Columbia/Legacy), pbs.org/theblues (the official site for “The Blues”) and theyearoftheblues.org.