Standing in the Shadows of Motown

Rated 4.0 The first half of the title of Alan Slutsky’s book Standing in the Shadows of Motown: The Life and Times of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson has been appropriated for a documentary that puts names and faces on the session band that created the Motown sound. This film is a jubilant, highly entertaining, bittersweet valentine to a neglected confluence of musicians called the Funk Brothers, who reunite after 41 years to tell their story. Director Paul Justman approaches their place and influence in “Hitsville USA” with a blend of live music, history and character sketches. He searches for the essence of Motown in archival and current interviews, comments from Funk Brother associates and music luminaries, dramatizations and photographs as we explore the Funk Brothers’ relationships, inspirations, dreams, disappointments and work ethics.