Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” is the legendary group’s rendition of the black national anthem, recorded for MLK/FBI, the forthcoming Critics’ Choice award winner for “Best Archival Documentary” and multiple IDA-award nominee. The official video for the song features footage from the film, and is co-directed by Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s Ben Jaffe and Kenneth Alexander Campbell. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is available now worldwide at all DSPs through Sub Pop.
[Photo credit: Dru Bui]
The Preservation Hall musicians who perform on “Lift Every Voice and Sing” include Charlie Gabriel (Tenor Saxophone), Wendell Brunious (Flugelhorn), Ronell Johnson (Piano, Organ, Trombone), Kyle Roussel (Piano), Ben Jaffe (Upright Bass), and Walter Harris (Drum Set) and are joined friends by Louis Ford (Tenor Saxophone), Walter Harris (Drum Set), Kerry “Fatman” Hunter (Snare Drum), Calvin Johnson (Soprano Saxophone), Kevin Louis (Trumpet), and Stephen Lands (Trumpet).
Sam Pollard, the director of MLK/FBI, is an Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated filmmaker. Pollard says of the song, ”MLK/FBI is a movie experience I am proud to have been a part of. Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s performance of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ is an astounding version of the iconic anthem, and a perfect ending for our film. We are thrilled it will now be given a wider release.”
Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s Jaffe offers this, “It’s always an Honor and Privilege that comes with huge responsibility to perform ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing.’ All of us were touched when Ben and Sam reached out to us. To perform such an important composition, at this moment in time, for MLK/FBI and with this ensemble, makes it all the more personal and relevant.”
MLK/FBI is the first film to uncover the extent of the FBI’s surveillance and harassment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Based on newly discovered and declassified files, utilizing a trove of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and unsealed by the National Archives, as well as revelatory restored footage, the documentary explores the government’s history of targeting Black activists, and the contested meaning behind some of our most cherished ideals. Featuring interviews with key cultural figures, including former FBI Director James Comey, MLK/FBI tells this astonishing and tragic story with searing relevance to our current moment. The film is produced by Benjamin Hedin, and written by Hedin and Laura Tomaselli.
MLK/FBI will be released in theatres and video-on-demand services on Friday, January 15th, 2021 through IFC Films.
What the critics are saying about MLK/FBI:
“One of the most urgent films of the year…” - Vanity Fair
“Powerhouse doc. Rewarding. Meticulously damning.” - Los Angeles Times
“Sam Pollard has assembled an engrossing, unsettling documentary…Rigorously focused on the facts of the past, the movie is also as timely as an alarm clock.” [“10 Great Movies at the New York Film Festival”] - New York Times
“Artfully assembled. It may be the best of this year’s very impressive slate. Illuminates the darkest, most insidious corners of American power and racism—past and present.” - Entertainment Weekly
“The film is a sobering watch and a timely reminder that King’s struggle for racial justice wasn’t straightforward, nor is it close to complete.” [“4 Films You Need to Watch This Fall”] - The Atlantic