Evolutionary Blues
Year:  2017
Running Time:  90 minutes
Country:  USA
Genre:  Documentary
Venue:  Tiburon Library [1501 Tiburon Boulevard]
Cast:  Alabama Mike, Betty Marvin, Dalhart Johnson, D’ Wayne P. Wiggins, E. Leon “Denianke” Williams, Electra Kimble Price, The Dynamic Miss Faye Carol, Freddie W. Hughes, Fantastic Negrito, Geoffrey Pete, Hartfield Brothers
Showtime:   Thursday, June 14, 2018 @ 06:30 PM
Director:  Cheryl Fabio

  [Screeniing @ Tiburon Film Society]

The Blues is an earthy, soul-stirring mélange of roots music and personal narratives that became the defining soundtrack of Black America. Wherever Black people settled that soundtrack took on a local flavor.

In Northern California, the influences came from the musicianship of Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma. Seventh Street in West Oakland supported and bolstered Blacks who answered the call of the war effort in the late 1940’s. Entrepreneurship created a fully contained community that provided work, homes and all the necessities of life including a fully developed music scene.

Watch as more than 30 local musicians share their inspiration and describe the trajectory of the Oakland Blues: how it evolved and what it has become.

Director Statement:

I had just read Isabel Wilkerson's book "Warmth of Other Suns" when a former colleague asked if I was interested in producing and directing a film on the Blues legacy of West Oakland. The opportunity to connect the history to the music was exciting. The development of the film became serendipitous as one musician after the other "checked me out" to determine if I was a good fit for helping them share their story. As I met the musicians and conducted initial interviews their level of passion was contagious and their willingness to share kept motivating me. We conducted nearly 40 interviews each from 1 to 3 hours. Before each interview, I researched and listened to as much of the interviewees music was possible. I worked a day job and at midnight I was still having a party on YouTube. YouTube was a godsend! I used questions to start the interview but each conversation flowed. We always hit the important points.

Those interviews were transcribed and the hard copy was cut and pasted on the wall along with timelines, and topics and people and genres. Each step got us closer to the story. Then we built the first video, it was 6 hours. When we got it down to 2.5 hours, I was too attached to the stories. But once they watched the film, I realized where we could take out 1 hour, so they'd still be in their seats when it ended. My editor was a jewel. She had the patience of Jobe and throughout the film we'd email the project back and forth in Premiere. I'd cut, she'd cut, we went back and forth for at least 8 months. Meadow the editor, took the weekday shift. I worked evenings and weekends. During the week I would look at the whole thing. the weekend was like surgery. There is so much good stuff on each of these people still "on the cutting room floor." We are all very proud of what this film has become.

Attending: Cheryl Fabio [director], Meadow Holmes [editor], Tenisha Jones [researcher]

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