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Steve Hackett - 2015 - "The Man, the Music"

(150 min DVD, Wienerworld)


1.  "The Man, the Music" Documentary 

Prolusion. English composer and musician Steve HACKETT is a name anyone even vaguely familiar with progressive rock will know. Arguably still best known for his tenure in Genesis in the ‘70s, he has since established himself as a solo artist with numerous albums to his name. In later years he has gone back to revisit his formative years in Genesis musically himself, with the “Genesis Revisited” albums and concerts becoming among his most popular productions to date. But he has also continued to create and release his own material; his latest production is a new solo album, "Wolflight", which was released earlier this year. "The Man, the Music" is a documentary about this renowned and legendary musician.

Analysis. As far as documentaries go, this isn't a production that will have a universal appeal, as it is not a movie that tries to find the answers to more or less vital questions. This is a movie that tells us a bit about what happened, but only rarely why something happened. And amidst all the interesting parts of Hackett's life, many are left uncovered or only briefly touched upon. In short, this isn't a revealing documentary as such, but it is a document about the man and, I suspect, made in close cooperation with him. The DVD is called "The Man, the Music" for a reason, as there's an emphasis on the man here. We're told in fairly good detail the events of his childhood and his early love of music, with side commentaries from his brother and mother along the way, ans what happened when he joined up with Genesis as well. His tenure in Genesis isn't covered in all that much detail, although recollections from those early days are covered with many fine scenes and descriptions, but the main focus from this period is how Steve got his solo career going. Events surrounding the creation of his first three solo albums are covered extensively as well, but perhaps with a bit too much focus on events that long time fans, and then especially those who are long time Genesis fans, will find somewhat lacking in details and descriptions regarding his main band situation while this was ongoing. We're also handed some details about the GTR project later on, this history surfacing in a joint interview with Chris Squire. Additional footage from that interview has been included as a bonus feature. Intermixed with the fairly detailed chronicle of Steve Hackett's early years as a band member and solo artist we're also treated to scenes from the later years, small interviews and comments from the members of his current live band, and several sections where Steve showcases his abilities as a musician. We get to know a bit about him as a person, and the manner in which this documentary has been made makes Mr. Hackett come across as quite the humble and thoughtful gentleman, and as a person who doesn't talk about others if he can't say anything positive about them. You get the feeling that this is actually the case as well, not just by the emphasis given throughout this movie, but also by the way he describes certain events in his life and the people that have been or are a part of it. As stated, this isn't a revealing documentary; the movie hasn't been made with that in mind. Not too much is said about the period between ‘79 and ‘08 or so either; the main focus is the period from 1950 until 1980 and then we're given a more superficial view of events from 2008 and until today, with a slightly more detailed description about the ill-famed GTR project. As such this is a movie that does have a few shortcomings, at least if you're the historian type of person who would like to see many questions answered. If I should summarize this DVD then it would be that it is an extremely well made portrait interview with some additional side comments, and a highly charming one at that.

Conclusion. I don't know how many documentaries about Steve Hackett that will be made in the future, and to my knowledge, this is the first one that has been made to date. While it's not a classic documentary in the manner I would define it, it is a very well made and charming portrait of the man, his music, his thoughts on music and his love of music. The time flies by fast when watching this DVD, which is a sure sign of a well made movie. First and foremost a production I can warmly recommend to fans of Steve Hackett, but additionally, I'll add that if you tend to find well made portrait interviews to be of interest, then I suspect that this is a movie with qualities you will appreciate.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: August 16, 2015
The Rating Room

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