NBFF Review: ‘Immediate Family’ Spotlights Studio Musicians

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James Taylor being interviewed in the film “Immediate Family”

By Simone Goldstone | NB Indy Soundcheck Columnist

Session musicians are the Buddhist monks of Rock and Roll. I say this because they lose their ego in a way no other musician does.

Session musicians aren’t in it for the fame, they are the ones who play in the studios—nameless musicians whose notes add the depth and playability that the most famous songs need.

Now it’s finally time to shine the spotlight on them, and that’s exactly what “Immediate Family” does.

The film is full of interviews from the likes of Neil Young, Stevie Nicks. Phil Collins, and many other famous musicians.

With the cutest animated graphics, Super 8 vignettes, and exclusive one-and-one interview, the film tells the tales of session musicians Leland Sklar, Russ Kunkel, Waddy Wachtel, and Danny Kortchmar in a delightfully whimsical manner.

Wonderful anecdotes of James Taylor hitchhiking through Martha’s Vineyard and a bomb in the studio while Carole King was recording Tapestry—this film has stories every music fan loves to hear. In fact, these session musicians can be found on your favorite songs from the 70s and 80s.

Phil Collins being interviewed in the film “Immediate Family”

Now, these session musicians who shaped countless iconic hits get to play together as an official band for the first time.

As the decades passed and the popular sounds changed in music, and the singer-songwriter era quietly slipped by, the session musicians who took the time to understand the music studio and producing adapted to the synth sounds of the 80s and went on to play with Phil Collins and Billy Bob Thornton.

“Immediate Family” is a great documentary that informs the audience of the lesser-known musicians who played your favorite songs, gives accolades to those nameless talents, and is filled with stories from tour busses to jam sessions.

I don’t want to give too much away, so let’s just say that “Immediately Family” is a joy for any music lover to watch.

“Immediate Family” screens Saturday, Oct 14 at 1 p.m. at Triangle 3 Theatre. Visit www.NewportBeachFilmFest.com for tickets. 

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