Verve/Eagle Rock Entertainment; dts-HD, Dolby Digital; 149 Minutes
I’ll start off by saying I’m not much of a Diana Krall fan, not fond of her vocal twists and turns, and rather meandering piano style. Her music is to me the essence of that recent genre called “Smooth Jazz”, ie; Jazz for those who hate it. Krall’s sound is more lush MOR, and best heard with strings, which it is in much of this performance.
That out of the way, this concert is a feast for fans, for eyes and ears. The production is immaculate and beautiful, scenes of Rio intercut with the music (Diana on the beach, etc), with utterly superb picture quality. Once you’ve seen this, you’ll never watch VHS again, and think before you put a DVD into your player. I selected the dts Master-HD in the opening menu, and what I heard was very clean and dynamic sound, with great detail and depth.
But, bearing in mind my opening comments, I found Diana’s singing bland and mannered, except when bending notes waayyy out of shape, and her piano playing somewhat chaotic and clinky. When the lady starts to rise off her seat, cover your ears!
Return To Forever Returns Live At Montreux 2008
This is not Smooth Jazz! It ranges from very articulate Rock to quite experimental Jazz, these veteran virtuoso players led by Corea’s improvisational nature and prolific keyboards. The rock side of the equation is, of course, Al DiMeola, who plays a mean guitar, even a classical acoustic instrument at times in this bravura performance. And Corea’s numerous keyboards and different sounds (not to mention musical ideas) keep things both audibly and visually interesting, while Clarke’s very interesting bass lines work with White’s varied drumwork to provide a framework for all this innovative music making.
Again, the production of this Montreux concert is first rate, with vivid colours, lots of stage detail and great camera work. This concert is followed by some US tour footage from a performance in Florida, also visually gorgeous and musically interesting. The sound is outstanding and definitely more amenable to these ears than Krall.
Quincy Jones - The 75th Birthday Celebration Live At Montreux 2008
A bevy of Jazz, Pop, and even Rock artists gathered together for this concert at the 2008 Montreux Festival. These included many whose records were produced or arranged by the very versatile Mr. Jones. Patti Austin and Petula Clark suggest the range of these artists whose careers were helped by Quincy. The former is a fixture throughout, providing some great soulful vocals, the other great vocalist from the Rock era being Freda Payne, now a much matured artist and singer. Just a few of the great musicians featured in this concert (that took a year to put together) are Al Jarreau, Chaka Kahn, James Moody, Toots Thielmans, Nana Mouskouri, Lee Ritenour, Joe Sample, Monty Alexander, and Nils Lindgren.
All of this is captured in glorious Blu-Ray sight and sound, and I highly recommend this disc to lovers of all types of music, especially the kind that swings! All of these Eagle Rock Blu-ray discs, and many more (including those listed below) can be ordered through www.audiobasics.com.
More Montreux Blu-rays From Eagle Rock
And Now, For Something Completely Different…
What a feast for Python fans! Starting with a contextual look at the Python origins, and followed by interviews with members, this series is utterly riveting, even going right back to my undergraduate idols, The Goons, led by Peter Sellers. It was the wild and surreal radio antics of The Goon Show that inspired the first Pythons. They bridged the gap from the unseen and imagined to the visual craziness that amazed and entertained British viewers while mystifying and enraging BBC programming executives.
The three films, (Holy Grail, Life Of Brian, and Meaning Of Life) are also covered herein, with lots of clips and anecdotes. All in all, it’s an engaging exercise that should be watched in hour (or two) segments (lest they wear you out laughing), stitched together with interview segments with Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam (the American animator), Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and “archival footage” of the late Graham Chapman. You’ll even meet the beautiful woman who bared her breasts (often) for the cause!
Very well shot and edited, The Truth is presented in excellent HD, showing the participants and the sketches themselves in a fidelity never before seen except in a theatre. This is a highly recommended set even for those new to the Monty Python experience. Where else could you find so much fun for the cost of just two discs?
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