3 Best Music Documentaries on Netflix Streaming – November 2017

I Called Him Morgan

I have watched this documentary two times it was so good. The great trumpet player Lee Morgan lived a life of many ups and downs.  When he was just eighteen, Dizzy Gillespie hired him and Morgan became a featured soloist in Dizzy’s big band.  Before the movie I only knew Lee Morgan from reading album covers and the Blue Note sessions, in particular John Coltrane’s Blue Train. I had heard of a rumor that Morgan was shot in a bar at a young age by his wife. You hear a story like that and your imagination just runs wild with scenarios – all fictitious.

I Called Him Morgan is inspired by a cassette tape interview of Helen Morgan, Lee Morgan’s wife.  Besides the amazing trumpet playing and prolific music-making, what is refreshing about this documentary is that all the people interviewed are black; there are none of the usual erudite white jazz critics.  Just about every person that was on the bandstand the night Morgan died is in the movie and is interviewed. Billy Harper’s and Wayne Shorter’s insights and emotions are particularly illuminating.  The photos of the Blue Note sessions are incredible. In the end it is inspiring to see these incredible musicians all seemingly healthy and vibrant in their seventies and eighties.

The Zen of Bennett

Even if you do not like Tony Bennett, this documentary about the making of one of Tony Bennett’s duet albums is beautiful. The film features Bennett’s recording sessions with Andrea Bocelli, Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, John Mayer, Willie Nelson, and others. It is very informative for anyone who wants to live a long life, what are the qualities of the “good life.”


Jaco is a 2014 American documentary that depicts the life and death of jazz musician Jaco Pastorius. The film was directed by Paul Marchand and Stephen Kijak and produced by Robert Trujillo of Metallica and John Battsek of Passion Pictures. The film features interviews with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Sting, Joni Mitchell, Carlos Santana, Jerry Jemmott, Jonas Hellborg, Bootsy Collins, and Flea. (from Wikipedia)

If you are a bass player and do not know who Jaco Pastorius is, you are not a bass player. Jaco redefined the bass. The movie Jaco gives a deeper insight into Jacos’s life, his family life,   great footage of concerts and interviews and his tragic struggles with mental illness.  We all miss this guy.

Two other great Documentaries NOT on Netflix

The reason you are reading this post is that  you have a Netflix streaming account and are looking for movie suggestions, it is raining or snowing outside, and you just cannot get it up to go to church or the corner bar.   Suffice it to say that the greatest music documentary of all time is not a music documentary but a boxing documentary called When We Were Kings about the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” heavyweight championship match in 1974  in Zaire between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. What happens in the course of that event and the musicians involved is phenomenal.

And then there is the movie  Muscle Shoals about an Alabama city that holds a prominent place in music history and the funky rhythm section that finally gets some recognition. But you are limited. You have Netflix streaming.

Open letter to Robert Thompson of NewsCorp

This is an open letter to Robert Thompson of NewsCorp. There is no link on your webpage on how to contact you so I thought I would write a letter. Sort of “old-school” don’t you think? I recently read Fake News and the Digital Duopoly in the April 5th version of the Wall Street Journal. Found it on a cafe table. Great op-ed, and I agree with everything in it. Clear and crisp writing and the article shed much needed light on lots of things.

Fake News and the Digital Duopoly
Google and Facebook have created a dysfunctional and socially destructive information ecosystem

Robert Thompson – Wall Street Journal

“publishers will routinely and selectively “unpublish” certain views and news.”

Robert Thompson – Fake News and the Digital Duopoly Wall Street Journal

I posted a piece on Facebook that was critical of Facebook and Google, the gist of which was just making sure all my “friends” know that Google and Facebook are private companies and that the space is NOT public and that they gather and mine your intimate personal history starting with – of course your birthday. This post of course disappeared from my history a few months later… never to be found again.

Your business model can’t be based on both intimate, gradual details about users and no clue whatsoever about rather obvious pirate sites.

I hate to tell you Mr. Thompson. Google and YouTube are the pirates. YouTube is one massive landscape of unlimited counterfeit movies and music. That should be the first thing addressed. It is called the revising of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It is wishful thinking that this will happen by the sense of goodwill and altruism of YouTube.

Read about it here –

BREAKING NEWS! After over 8 years, Google’s Content ID system is STILL IN BETA!





4 Best Documentaries on Netflix Streaming

Looking for a movie on Netflix Streaming? It seems that documentaries are the largest category in Netflix. Below are four movies that I highly recommend.


The Legend of Eddie Aikau
If you do not know who Eddie Aikau was, you will by the end of the movie. A remarkable person, amazing athelete and incredible life. Indeed, “Eddie would go.”

Little White Lie
This documentary is remarkable, not only for the story but also the fact that the filmmaker is so young and yet makes a film that is so mature.


The Zen of Bennet
I have no idea why this movie has only three stars in places. Even if you do not like the music and singing of Tony Bennet, the movie is a great view into a man, way up there in years, who still has it all together. Features many pop artists including Amy Winehouse.


Muscle Shoals
There is no reason why this is at the bottom of the four. I am assuming that you have already seen this movie. This is the sort of history that always seems to get torn out of history books. You may be Caucasian but that does not mean you cannot be funky.

Auggie Wren and his Philosophy of Time

Auggie Wren: You will never get it if you don’t slow down my friend.
Paul Benjamin: What do you mean?
Auggie Wren: You are going so fast you are hardly looking at the pictures.
Paul Benjamin: They are all the same.
Auggie Wren: They’re all the same, but each one is different than every other one. You got your bright mornings, your dark mornings. You got your summer light, your autumn light. You got your weekdays, your weekends. You got your people in overcoats and goulashes and you got your people in t-shirts and shorts. Sometimes the same people. Sometimes different ones. Sometimes the different ones become the same. The same ones disappear. The earth revolves around the sun and everyday the light from the sun hits the earth at a different angle.
Paul Benjamin: Slow down, huh?
Auggie Wren: That’s what I recommend. You know how it is. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. Time creeps in its petty pace.

From the movie “Smoke” (1995) by Wayne Wang