Many fans have bands they recognize as being clearly worthy of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame but whose genius and importance — so obvious to the dearly devoted — was never universally recognized by the masses.
For television producer Lee Aronsohn ("Two and a Half Men," "The Big Bang Theory"), that band was Boulder's Magic Music.
Aronsohn, who serves as a viewer’s guide through the excavation of his personal passion, tells of his arrival to Boulder in the early 1970s, attracted by the University of Colorado’s billing in an underground college guide as a hotbed for “dope and sex.” We don’t learn how much of those commodities he found in Boulder. Rather, it was an ensemble of long-haired mellow musicians he stumbled upon one day on campus spinning their repertoire of tight, sun-dappled harmonies against a breezy fabric of acoustic guitars, tabla and flute that captured his attention in a way he would never shake.
40 Years in the Making: The Magic Music Movie
“It was a time in Boulder, and this was the band in Boulder that defined that friendliness and that love,” says one aging fan. And another: “Magic Music was a light in the darkness.” They were, in the eyes of many, the prototypical Colorado jam band.
But, then, as another friend of the band recalls ruefully — and of how many also-rans can this be said? — “Every time they got close, it somehow went wrong.”
The tools he employs are a mix of the familiar for this genre —interviews from witnesses to their early days and surviving band members, archival photos, and no shortage of sampling Magic Music’s frothy oeuvre. But, lacking a trove of performance video from their modest heyday, animation is also deployed to fill in the gaps Aronsohn would surely have wished to address another way.
Charlie Brennan: 303-473-1327, email@example.com/chasbrennan