Satan & Adam
One day in 1986, Adam Gussow, a white, Ivy League-educated harmonica player, found himself nursing a broken heart and walking down the street in Harlem, a block from the Apollo Theater. There, he came on a one-man band: Sterling Magee. Better known as Satan, Magee was a local legend with heavy blues guitar riffs and makeshift percussion instruments. Word around the neighborhood was that he had backed James Brown at the Apollo and cut singles for Ray Charles’s Tangerine label, but no one really knew for sure. When Adam sat in on a session with Satan that day, a most unlikely connection was formed. Their partnership and friendship would transcend the racial tensions of a segregated city and the anxiety of a neighborhood that was hyper-aware of the perils of gentrification. “Satan & Adam” is a celebration of the transformative power of music and the bonds that develop when worlds collide and artists collaborate. Director V. Scott Balcerek pulls together more than two decades of documentary footage to chart the duo’s friendship from busking in the streets of Harlem to such major venues as the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.