Last night Clive Davis and Reverend Al Sharpton hosted the New York premiere of “Amazing Grace.”
“Amazing Grace” is fitting for a queen and begins perfectly. It shows the Southern California Community choir getting ready backstage with great anticipation, while producers from Atlantic records work with sound engineers to set the stage for Aretha Franklin.
It is like Heaven on earth – No grand stage or big production team/just a few cameramen, a crowd and Aretha Franklin at 29 singing down heaven on earth at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. This would be the first the world will be witnessing Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace featuring James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Church Live.
Even eight months after the Queen of soul’s passing at the age of 76, the live recording of Amazing Grace is still Franklin’s bestseller.
What I Have explored in this documentary is the chemistry between Franklin and Rev James Cleveland, who you will see weeping during Franklin’s rendition of the title song, “Amazing Grace.” But it was more apparent during Franklin’s rendition of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and Marvin Gaye’s “Wholy Holy.”
Then there is the choir director, Alexander Hamilton, who is showing passion and grace throughout the recording. You will sit at the edge of your seat during Franklin’s delivery of “How I Got Over” and “The Old Landmark.”
You will witness the endearing moments with Franklin and her father the Rev. C.L. Franklin Aretha’s like him wiping the sweat off his daughter brow on night 2. Drummer Bernard Purdie, guitarist Cornell Dupree and bassist Chuck Rainey were the perfect accompaniment for a queen.
Make this Easter season a memorable one and go see “Amazing Grace.” It will change your life.