Documentary tells blues man's story
The upcoming film will focus on Sterling Magee's New York City career.
By JON WILSON
Published June 20, 2007
Sterling Magee, a blues guitar player who got his start playing in segregated clubs here four decades ago, is the subject of a California producer's feature-length documentary.
Known as "Five Fingers, " Magee was considered the fastest guitar in town during his St. Petersburg days. He lived in Methodist Town, a black enclave, and played in clubs there and along 22nd Street S.
The documentary will concentrate on Magee's New York City career as a street singer and one-man band in Harlem.
There, Magee changed his monicker to "Mr. Satan." He teamed with blues harpist Adam Gussow, who earned a Ph.D. from Princeton University and wrote about working with Magee in his book, Mister Satan's Apprentice: A Blues Memoir.
Gussow, a professor at the University of Mississippi, also is featured in the film. He and Magee cut three CDs during the 1990s and appear in a U2 video from the CD Rattle and Hum.
Producer Scott Balcerek, a visual effects editor for the Star Wars series, couldn't be reached early this week, nor could Magee, 71, who lives in a Gulfport nursing home. Kevin Moore, a friend who helps Magee travel to performances and set up, said the film is expected to be released in time for 2008 film festivals such as Sundance.
"It's still in production, " Moore said. "(Balcerek) just finished with some footage from down here."
Magee had a series of health problems and has lived at the Boca Ciega Center for about six years. It was there, with the help of Moore and others, that he was able to revive his interest in guitar playing.
He has played at several area venues, reunited with Gussow and traveled to a Mississippi blues symposium. Earlier this month, Magee and Gussow played in Greenwich Village as part of a promotional tour for Gussow's latest book, A Journeyman's Road.
"When we hit the ground that weekend in New York, we didn't stop until that Monday, " Moore said. He said Magee is thriving on the activity and "doing amazingly well."
On Monday, Moore took Magee to Ocala, where the musician played at Tin Cup's Tavern. No more gigs are scheduled at the moment, Moore said.
ON THE WEB:
Visit http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=2028205891 to view the documentary trailer.
[Last modified June 20, 2007, 01:42:59]
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