Ruling the den of blues: who do you love

Last Updated: March 7, 2012By Tags: , ,

Following its acclaimed premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Who Do You Love, the new film from four-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Zaks (Marvin’s Room)will open in theaters beginning in April.

The film, which presents an intimate look into the lives of Leonard and Phil Chess, legendary founders of Chess Records, stars Alessandro Nivola (Coco Before Chanel, Junebug), Jon Abrahams (Meet The Parents), acclaimed musicians Robert Randolph (as Bo Diddley) and Keb’ Mo’, David Oyelowo (Last King Of Scotland), Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies, Boston Legal), Megalyn Ann Echikunwoke and Marika Dominczyk. The film features authentic musical performances and a score steeped in hits from the Chess Records canon including Muddy Waters’ Stuff You Gotta Watch, Etta James’ At Last, and Bo Diddley’s Who Do You Love. The score is assembled by renowned music supervisers Budd Carr—who has provided his expertise to over seventy films including every Oliver Stone film (JFK, The Doors, Born on the Fourth of July, Natural Born Killers, etc), and Nora Felder, who has overseen A&R efforts for Paul Simon, Sinead O’Connor, Les Paul and Iggy Pop.

Who Do You Love tells the story of Leonard Chess, a Polish immigrant living in Chicago, who becomes enamored with the new blues sound emanating from the city in the mid-1940s. Chess and his brother Phil open a club called Macomba and gamble on producing race records with the help of bass player and songwriter Willie Dixon. After an initial failure, they find success with the iconic bluesman Muddy Waters, and on the strength of his popularity, start Chess Records. Chess Records quickly grew into an influential label, launching the careers of Waters, Bo Diddley, Etta James, Chuck Berry, among others, and introducing the Blues to American audiences on a broader scale. Who Do You Love tracks the growth of Chess Records, but more importantly, presents a poignant look into the strains the label placed on Leonard Chess’ family, namely his wife Revetta and his son Marshall.

Of the film, Marshall Chess says, Who Do You Love is a great snapshot of the era in which the music that was to become the foundation of Rock & Roll was created. The music, the cars, the clothes, and the many amazing characters of my childhood are brought to life in this film, which also gives a taste of the many roads travelled by my family to make Chess Records one of the greatest record labels of all time.

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