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Paul Butterfield Documentary ‘Horn From the Heart’ Bought by Abramorama (EXCLUSIVE)

Abramorama has bought global rights for John Anderson’s documentary “Horn From the Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story,” Variety has learned exclusively.

The film uses Butterfield’s music and words, along with first-­hand accounts of his family, his band mates and those closest to him. Butterfield, who died in 1987, is regarded by some as the greatest blues harmonica player of all time.

The film features appearances by David Sanborn, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Elvin Bishop, Maria Muldaur, Paul Shaffer, Michael Bloomfield, Todd Rundgren and Bob Dylan. It has played at the Mill Valley, Woods Hole and Newport Beach Film Festivals.

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. Butterfield is one of a handful of musicians inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame, alongside  B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Billie Holiday and Eric Clapton.

Abramorama will release “Horn From the Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story” in theaters in August with a combination of week-long engagements and one-night events. Abramorama has specialized in releasing music documentaries to theaters in recent years including “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years,” “George Harrison Concert for George,” “Above & Beyond Acoustic: Giving Up The Day Job” and Pearl Jam’s “Let’s Play Two.” It’s also handling the upcoming 50th Anniversary re-release of the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.”

Raitt said, “Paul was an incredible creative spirit and always kept stretching. As deep as he would go into the roots, he was always pushing the envelope of what blues could be.”

Butterfield learned the blues from the original masters performing nightly in Chicago and was mentored by Muddy Waters. He formed the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in 1963 with Michael Bloomfield and Bishop on guitars, the rhythm section of Sam Lay and Jerome Arnold and the keyboards of Mark Naftalin.

The band’s first album, released by Elektra Records, struck a chord with rock audiences and rejuvenated worldwide interest in the blues. It was named “#11 Blues Album of All Time” by Downbeat and contained the liner note on the back cover: “We suggest you play this album at the highest possible volume in order to fully appreciate the sound of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.”

Butterfield was the only artist to perform at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and the Woodstock Festival in 1969. He died at age 44 in 1987 of a drug overdose.

Abramorama’s CEO and president Richard Abramowitz added, “I’ve been a huge fan of Paul Butterfield for as long as I can remember so the opportunity to spread his blues and rock ‘n’ roll gospel through this film is a real privilege and a gift to music lovers everywhere.”

Sandra Warren is the producer. The script was written by Anderson and Sandra Warren.

 

 

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