Get Cultured — December 5, 2014 at 11:50 am

“Nathan East: For The Record” Recognizes the Man, Shows Us the Legend

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Nathan East, wow, what a man. What a musician. What a revolutionary bassist…have you heard of him? If your answer is no, you are not alone. Chances are, if I tell you a song he played in you’ll know it, and if I tell you a couple of more names…well, you will recognize most of them, but the name, sadly, is not as familiar. And that’s what the documentary, For the Record, sets to do. Its focus is for people to not only know the name, but the impact this man had in modern music. And believe me, it is a lot deeper than you think when you watch the first few minutes of the film.

The documentary itself works well upon a tried formula. It doesn’t break any grounds, but it is enjoyable. The man himself is charismatic and interesting, but his life itself is not compelling. Or at least, the documentary didn’t make it seem that way. The film follows Nathan as he embarks in the creation of his first album (a fact that many of his famous friends can’t believe). This journey is interweaved with his past, which is told in a mix of family stories and tales of the rich and famous. It is interesting to see how many people he got to work with, and the film does a good job of introducing them as they accompanied him on his new venture. This is something that keeps the audience entertained, as they keep seeing some of their old favorites pop up and share their experiences. The list includes people like Phil Collins, Lionel Richie, Eric Clapton, Quincy Jones, Ray Parker Jr. (who throws an awesome Ghostbuster reference in the air), among others.

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Besides this, and the pure bliss of listening to good music, the film doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to cinematic value. The editing works so well in moments, like when two conversations about the same topic are put together so the people seem to be talking in unison. Simple, yet very effective in keeping the momentum in pace with the music. But then there would be moments, where things will come into focus for no reason. Sometimes they use the deep focus effect on things and gave the blur effect to the image, and while at the beginning it didn’t bother me, the gimmick wore out its welcome very quickly. This felt forced, and took me out from a very joyous experience. It also comes up short when the biggest tragedies in his life are barely talked about, and used for pure sentimental manipulation. The whole movie focus is on just speaking of how great he is, without ever changing the tone. Because of this, the film seem more like a promotional video that accompanies the album less than a documentary about the most underrated bassist in history.

Directed with much respect by Yamaha Entertainment Group Founder, Vice President and Director Chris Gero, the movie is less of a cinematic documentary and more of a love letter to pop music seen through the eyes of one the most unknown components of the last 50 years, Nathan East. The man deserves recognition, beyond the admiration of his friends…the man needs to be known. This documentary works because the information is relevant for any music lover. As a film, it is nothing all too special to talk about, but as a piece of history, it’s a treasure. If you love music, pop culture and history, then you must watch it. “Nathan East: For The Record” will be playing on Hulu starting in December. I recommend you see it.

Twisted Talk: Have you heard of Nathan East? Did you know he collaborated with Pharrell on smash hit “Get Lucky”?

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