In the first hour of “Genius: Aretha,” an eight-part dramatization on the life of singer Aretha Franklin, there’s a scene set in 1967 in the legendary Fame recording studios at Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Franklin is at the piano trying to establish musical rapport with a group of white sidemen she has never met, brought in by celebrated R&B producer Jerry Wexler. Things are not going well. And then after yet another blown take and a whispered admonition from Wexler to be herself, Franklin starts playing on the piano gospel chords remembered from her Sundays as a little girl singing in the Detroit church of her father the Rev. C.L. Franklin.
Zurawik: Big story, great music, fine acting drive Aretha Franklin series on National Geographic
March 15, 2021