Coming to PBS’s American Masters tomorrow, Friday, February 12: BB KING: THE LIFE OF RILEY
Jon Brewer’s profile of the late blues legend debuted in a longer version in London in 2012. This earlier version screened at various fests, including New Orleans, NXNE, and Sedona, and has since been cut down for its television broadcast debut and revised to acknowledge KIng’s passing last year.
Born Riley B King on a cotton plantation in Mississippi, the son of sharecroppers, Brewer’s famed subject rose to the heights of the blues to become synonymous with the American music genre. Working in collaboration with King and his estate, the filmmaker constructs an appreciative biography of the musician through interviews with the man himself and glowing testimonials from family members, fellow musicians and famous fans, including Bonnie Raitt, Bono, Ringo Starr, John Mayer, and Morgan Freeman, who also narrates. Archival footage of performances both classic and more recent supplements the proceedings, amply demonstrating the consummate skills of the King of the Blues, and his well-earned place within cultural history.