I’ve just watched Thunder Soul, a documentary about Conrad “Prof”Johnson and his Kashmere Stage Band. This thing is really one of the best docs I’ve ever seen!
The Kashmere Stage Band was very special that time. It was a complete black band that made real funk, instead of the weak jazz that the most white bands played. Conrad O. Johnson was inspired by music like James Brown, Otis Redding and Eart, Wind and Fire. He started his own band at high school! He demands a lot of his pupils but with succes, the band wins almost all the competitions they play. Unbelievable that kids of only 14-15 can be so tight and funky.
The documentary is beatifully made. It has a strong structure and flashy visuals! The alternation of archival footage, interviews and the rehearsals for the reunion are perfectly selected and cut.
Besides stunning directing it also has a beautiful message, the documentary shows for me that in a fast changing society where everyone becomes more and more individualistic a good and passionate teacher can really make a difference. Musical and cultural education can really connect people! In this case Conrad Johnson was a father person that learned the boys how to become man and kept them from the criminal path. In 2008 the former band wants to honnor their musical director with a show. Some people didn’t play for 30 years, but at the end…
…well go see it yourself!