Cream - Classic Artists: Cream [image entertainment]

Comprehensive but static documentary on archetypal power trio

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Cream - <i>Classic Artists: Cream</i> [image entertainment]

In their three tumultuous years together, young virtuosos Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker extended the parameters of rock to accommodate jazz-based improvisation, setting the stage for Jimi Hendrix and a host of subsequent guitar heroes while inspiring the Grateful Dead and other early jam bands. This fact-?lled doc—written by ?rst-generation rock journalist Chris Welch and comprised almost entirely of talking-head reminiscences from the band members and their contemporaries—tells the band’s story with clarity, making it essential viewing for rock scholars. As ?lmmaking, though, the Jon Brewer-directed documentary fails to transmit the era’s excitement, with laughably stiff narration and very little actual music. Perhaps there’s simply no archival footage that reveals Cream at its mind-blowing best (the performances in the extras are certainly dreadful, and the band’s only other of?cial DVD that features ’60s performances, Cream: Farewell Concert, is barely listenable and even worse to watch). At the least, you’d think Brewer and Welch would’ve chosen to include some footage from the 2005 reunion concerts.