Synopsis by Mark Deming
It's hard to overestimate the importance of the city of New Orleans in the history of American popular music; New Orleans was where jazz first took root, and the city's rich gumbo of musical influences (African, Caribbean, and French accents mingling with jazz, blues, gospel, and pop structures) helped to steep the creative melting pot that allowed rhythm and blues and rock & roll to grow. There's nothing like the sound of New Orleans jazz, funk, and R&B, and filmmaker Michael Murphy offers living proof in his documentary Make it Funky!, which examines the Crescent City's vibrant musical history while showing some of the city's greatest musicians on stage. Make it Funky! includes concert performances by Allen Toussaint, The Neville Brothers, Lloyd Price, The Meters, Snooks Eaglin, Walter "Wolfman" Washington, and many more. Bonnie Raitt and Keith Richards also make guest appearances and talk about how the New Orleans sound impacted their own music. Make it Funky! went into release in the fall of 2005, just as Hurricane Katrina was devastating New Orleans, making its portrait of the city all the more poignant.