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Thunder Soul (2010)

Thunder Soul documentary review

Schools aim to help their students reach their full potential. In American schools there are a lot of things you can participate in, whether that is sports, debating or music. Students try to excel in whatever they do, but to do that you need to have a great teacher. Conrad O. Johnson was such a teacher at Kashmere High School. He managed to make his Kashmere Stage Band one of the best school bands in the country, who even toured the world because of their skill and show.

In 1968 a lot of school bands played jazz. It looked static and all was pretty tame. What Johnson, also known as Prof., did was add funk to the mix and had his students move their instruments and even dance. It blew the competition away. When you listen to their recording you wouldn’t guess that this is a school band, it just sounds amazing:

As students graduated the band slowly disappeared. The students are now all in their fifties and they decided to reunite after 35 years to play together again. Some of them not having touched an instrument since they were in school. Their aim is to pay tribute to their teacher, who is 92, and thank him for everything he has thought them.

The movie manages to show why this band was so succesfull, how some of the members are doing now and the impact they have had on other music as well as artists like DJ Shadow sampled their records. The ending of this documentary is bittersweet and adds a lot of emotion to this movie, just like the Cashmere Stage Band put their soul into their music. It’s inspiring to see how one man managed to motivate his students to reach such high levels of success. A documentary worth seeing.

Score: 8


Category: Documentary, Movies
  • le0pard13 says:

    I love a good documentary. This one seems to fit the bill. Thanks for showcasing it.

    March 14, 2012 at 9:26 pm
    • Nostra says:

      You are welcome! I love funk music, so this wa just enjoyable….

      March 14, 2012 at 10:53 pm
  • Colin says:

    I’m in. Never heard of it; hunting for it now. Thanks Nostra!

    March 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm
    • Nostra says:

      You are welcome Colin, hope you like it!

      March 19, 2012 at 9:02 am
  • rtm says:

    Oh this one actually was screened at TCFF last year and I didn’t get to see it. Sounds wonderful, thanks for reviewing it Nostra.

    March 16, 2012 at 2:24 am
    • Nostra says:

      I think I’ve only ever seen one documentary on a big screen, don’t think most of them need to be seen that way. I really liked this one.

      March 19, 2012 at 9:03 am
  • The Focused Filmographer says:

    I wanted to see this one so bad. Thank you for reviewing it, as I have not had anyway of seeing it yet.

    March 17, 2012 at 3:57 am
    • Nostra says:

      You’ll get your chance to see it T! :)

      March 19, 2012 at 9:03 am

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