Two musical documentaries dominate the evening

Posted 11/6/17

By Kevin McDonoughA half-century is a long time to commandeer the cool kids' table. "Rolling Stone: Stories From the Edge" (9 p.m., HBO, TV-MA) will air over two nights, chronicling the magazine that …

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Two musical documentaries dominate the evening

Posted

By Kevin McDonough

A half-century is a long time to commandeer the cool kids' table. "Rolling Stone: Stories From the Edge" (9 p.m., HBO, TV-MA) will air over two nights, chronicling the magazine that launched 50 years ago this month.

"Edge" is filled with great clips of musical performances by Jimi Hendrix, Tina Turner, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Janis Joplin, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Ice-T and others. It's best appreciated for its ancient footage and grainy videotaped interviews with the magazine's founders, most notably publisher Jann Wenner.

As Wenner and others describe it, they were out to cover the culture and politics of rock 'n' roll as much as reviewing new albums and celebrating emerging artists.

Directed by Alex Gibney ("Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief") and Blair Foster ("George Harrison: Living in the Material World"), "Edge" has the burden of covering the half-century history of a magazine that may have lost its edge after a decade or so.

While the early issues had the feel of an "underground" newspaper, Rolling Stone quickly became the industry organ of a very big business. That was noted as early as 1972 when Doctor Hook released the throwaway hit "The Cover of the Rolling Stone."

This is hardly the first Rolling Stone retrospective. In 1977, CBS aired "Rolling Stone * The 10th Anniversary," co-written by Steve Martin. It was considered a bomb by many and described in Billboard as "overblown, pretentious, slow-moving, and generally cheapening to both rock and roll and the magazine's good name." The same can't be said of this retrospective, but I can't blame viewers for skipping the second night.

• Much more heartfelt is the "Independent Lens" (10 p.m., PBS, TV-PG, check local listings) documentary "Chasing Trane," director John Scheinfeld's portrait of jazz great John Coltrane.

Denzel Washington reads from the saxophonists own words. The film offers a loose biography as well as an exploration of his music, with an accent on its unique tone, emotional power and spiritual exploration.

"Trane" features a wealth of commentary from fellow musicians and one American president, figures who stand in awe of Coltrane's pioneering work. Look and listen for insights from Bill Clinton, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Heath, Wynton Marsalis, Carlos Santana, Common and Doors drummer John Densmore.

Sometimes musical eras create their own kind of Big Bang. We learn that in 1959, between playing on recording sessions for Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue," Coltrane recorded his own seminal album, "Giant Steps." Again, the "awe" word.

TONIGHT'S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

• Contestants choose songs to perform on "The Voice" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).

• The 2016 documentary "All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception and the Spirit of I.F. Stone" (9 p.m., Starz) celebrates the work of contemporary investigative journalists.

"Ride With Norman Reedus" (9 p.m., AMC, TV-14) visits the Lowcountry region between Charleston and Savannah.

• Robin Roberts hosts "Living Every Day: Luke Bryan" (10 p.m., ABC).

CULT CHOICE

Female war workers and welders (Ginger Rogers, Ruth Hussey, and Kim Hunter) share housing and expenses while their men are away at war in the 1943 drama "Tender Comrade" (midnight, TCM), directed by Edward Dmytryk and written by Dalton Trumbo. Both later faced charges that they had used wartime films to spread communist propaganda.

SERIES NOTES

After hours on "Kevin Can Wait" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) * Missing Candy on "Lucifer" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14) * "Dancing With the Stars" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) * Going over like a lead balloon on "Supergirl" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14) * Bernadette's in labor on "The Big Bang Theory" (8:30 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG) * Police on the spot on "Superior Donuts" (9 p.m., CBS) * Thunderbird wants answers on "The Gifted" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14) * Gallo risks all on "Valor" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14) * Andrew feels smothered on "9JKL" (9:30 p.m., CBS) * A mad dash through the sewers on "Scorpion" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) * A trip to Paris proves illuminating on "The Brave" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

LATE NIGHT

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Tig Notaro are booked on "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah" (11 p.m., Comedy Central) * Stephen Colbert appears on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS) * Josh Gad, Lawrence O'Donnell and Derek DelGaudio are booked on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" (11:35 p.m., CBS) * Jimmy Fallon welcomes Adam Levine, Sam Rockwell and J Balvin on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC) * Ellen Pompeo, John Leguizamo, Jhene Aiko and Nathan Davilmar visit "Late Night With Seth Meyers" (12:35 a.m., NBC) * William H. Macy, Bobby Moynihan, Hailey Baldwin and Weezer appear on "The Late Late Show With James Corden" (12:35 a.m., CBS).

© 2017 United Feature Syndicate