Thunder Soul

(2010)

Genres: Documentary, Musical

Chaz Checks In: Thunder Soul

Transcript for Chaz Checks In: Thunder Soul

CHAZ: THUNDER SOUL is a moving documentary presented BY JAMIE FOXX about the Kashmere high school band in Houston.  30 years ago, the band won awards for its innovative big band sound. It was led by the dedicated music teacher Mr Conrad Johnson, whom was affectionately called Prof. Recently, the old band members were persuaded to get back together and put on a show to help raise money for the school and to honor the 92 year old Prof.  The band excelled in an era when most high school bands imitated Glen Miller. Prof saw that times were changing and that young people were listening to artists like James Brown.  So, he made a bold move and allowed the students to incorporate funk and showmanship into their act. This was pretty radical at a time when THUNDER SOUL was the only black band allowed to compete in the Texas State competition.    But the most extraordinary thing about the band was its leader, Prof. He stood in as a father figure and mentor to some of the students, and he taught them not only how to be musicians, but how to be men. He was convinced that musical culture and the arts were gateways to education and to their very lives. Under his leadership the band achieved international fame.   This movie is pure joy! You quickly get to know and care about Prof and the band members, and their effect on the community.  The community was so proud of them.  And surprisingly you learn that their achievements are not all in the past. The band was so professional that it was brought back on music labels over 30 years later, and no one suspected it was a high school band. This is a wonderfully sweet movie that reminds you how a caring teacher brings out the best in students, even in a gritty urban area of Texas. I give it a Thumbs Up.