Coming Soon to
Coming Soon to
"An ode to the bedrock sanctity of the black church and the expressive beauty of its worship. You see it in the waves of ecstasy that roll through the congregation as people leap to their feet and dance, and you see it when Cleveland stumbles into a pew and bursts into tears, completely overcome by Franklin’s performance of “Amazing Grace.” How sweet the sound indeed." -Justin Chang, LA Times
In 1972, Aretha Franklin gave two days of gospel performances at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles, recording what would become her bestselling album, Amazing Grace. The sessions were captured by a film crew led by Sydney Pollack, but the footage wound up shelved in a vault and has remained one of the lost cinematic treasures of twentieth-century music.
"Amazing Grace" lets the events unfold on film without imposing present-day interviews. As the daughter of Detroit’s prominent Reverend C.L. Franklin, Aretha was deeply immersed in gospel and grew up among the leaders of the genre. Her father and other gospel mentors can be spotted in the crowd – as can Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts, lingering in the back of the church.
Aretha Franklin has always had a vocal range that sprawled, but in “Amazing Grace” her voice never leaves the higher register. The effect is ecstatic; she sounds like the holiest of trumpets, with every note piercingly bright yet as soft as velvet. Listening to Franklin, you feel like you could ride that voice into the heavens. She’s not just a singer, she’s a human chariot.