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DVD/Video/Film Reviews

April 18, 2014

Kenny Werner: Effortless Mastery In Motion

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By DAN BILAWSKY

In the early moments of Effortless Mastery: The Four Steps, pianist Kenny Werner notes that he never aspired to be a guru; nevertheless, he's viewed as one by a significant number of musicians. If Werner had never put a single word on paper or shared a single thought about the art of playing, practicing, and learning, he'd still be recognized as a major musical figure. Over the course of the past three-plus decades, he's done everything from solo dates to grand-scale work with orchestras, and he's played with everybody from saxophonist Joe Lovano to harmonica ace Toots ...

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March 16, 2014

The Allman Brothers Band: Live at Great Woods 1991

By DOUG COLLETTE

The Allman Brothers Band Live at Great Woods 1991 Legacy 2014 When The Allman Brothers Band regrouped in 1989, there were no long- term plans after the roadwork in support of the box set Dreams (Polydor, 1989). Accordingly, when the response to those concerts led to further work, including the signing to Sony/Epic Records, the support the band received, at least at first, was in keeping with the Brothers' growing (re)commitment to themselves and their loyal fanbase. Thus, a concert video filmed at one of ABB's bastions of popularity, the Great Woods ...

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March 8, 2014

The Doors: R-Evolution

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By DOUG COLLETTE

The Doors R-Evolution Eagle Vision 2014 The pristine clarity of the audio and video content on The Doors' Re-evolution, much of it unreleased, lends a ghostly quality to the film, perhaps to an even greater extent than its creators imagine. Not intended to be definitive, this two hour-plus compilation of music videos and conceptual pieces instead illustrates the ever-growing legacy of this iconic band. From the staged likes of the 'music film' for “Break on Through" to the similarly lip-synced likes of performances on Dick Clark' “American Bandstand," the Doors are in their ...

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January 17, 2014

Jerry Bergonzi: Two More DVDs from the Master Educator

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By DAN BILAWSKY

There are plenty of stellar musicians who can't teach and plenty of fine educators who lack the skills or know-how to play at a top-tier level. There aren't a lot of internationally acclaimed musicians who are also viewed the world over as exceptional teachers; saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi is one of the few. Bergonzi has traveled plenty with his horn, playing his own music and backing up bigwigs across the globe, but he's made an even bigger impact in the world of jazz education. He's managed to share his wisdom through master classes, Inside Improvisation--his series of books ...

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December 29, 2013

Steven Wilson: Drive Home

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By JOHN KELMAN

Steven Wilson Drive Home Kscope 2013 It's been a busy couple of years for Steven Wilson. The British singer, multi- instrumentalist and songwriter has continued his work as the go-to guy for surround sound and stereo remixes on recent outings including XTC's Nonesuch (1992; reissued Panegyric, 2013), Yes' Close to the Edge (1972; reissued Panegyric, 2013), Jethro Tull's Benefit: A Collector's Edition (1970; reissued Chrysalis, 2013), and his new stereo mix, in collaboration with King Crimson's Robert Fripp, of that group's classic Red (DGM Live, 1975), found on the wonderfully massive The Road to Red ...

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November 29, 2013

Victor Wooten and Carter Beauford: Making Music

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By ANTON RASMUSSEN

Victor Wooten & Carter Beauford Making Music Hudson Music 2002 One of my favorite VHS tapes in High School around 14 years ago was the Hudson Music recording called Making Music, featuring Carter Beauford and Victor Wooten. This recording is still available from Hudson Music and, as of 2002, the film contains over 90 minutes of bonus footage. When Carter Beauford was two, he started playing drums. He was so young that when he watched Buddy Rich play on TV and set his drum set up to mirror Rich's kit he didn't realize ...

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November 9, 2013

Peter Gabriel: Live in Athens 1987 (The Full Recorded Show)

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By JOHN KELMAN

Peter Gabriel Live in Athens 1987: The Full Recorded Show including Youssou N'Dour and Le Super Etoile de Dakar Real World / Eagle Eye Media 2013 Count on Peter Gabriel to be ahead of the curve. In 1987, when he was touring his commercial breakthrough record So (Geffen, 1986), he was already thinking ahead (now that the MTV generation had made the value of videos clear) to the potential of recording and releasing concert videos from each of his major tours. Since that time he's done just that, though considering the amount of ...

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October 18, 2013

Song of the South: Duane Allman and the Rise of The Allman Brothers Band

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By DOUG COLLETTE

Song of the South: Duane Allman and The Rise of The Allman Brothers Band Chrome Dreams 2013 Song of the South: Duane Allman and The Rise of The Allman Brothers Band emphasizes the cultural impact of this iconic group and its late lamented leader. Even more so than the biography of the guitarist, Skydog, or the unauthorized story of the group, Midnight Riders (the respective authors of which, Randy Poe and Scott Freeman, appear extensively during the course of the two-hour DVD), this video balances the groundbreaking influence of ABB as role models for a new ...

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August 18, 2013

The Who: Live in Texas '75

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By DOUG COLLETTE

The WhoLive in Texas '75Eagle Rock2012In their performing prime, between 1969 and 1971, The Who were the most thrilling performers rock had ever known (and may remain so). The original quartet remained exciting through 1975 when The Who: Live in Texas '75 was filmed, though in the flood of kinetic energy exploding from the band at this point in their career, there are, in retrospect, hints they had already reached their peak. What were once wholly natural theatrics began to look forced and, perhaps not coincidentally, there's a discernible lack of genuine ...

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August 10, 2013

Bob Dylan and The Band: Down in the Flood

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By DOUG COLLETTE

Bob Dylan and The BandDown in the Flood: Associations and CollaborationsChrome Dreams2012Unless the man himself and the remaining survivors of The Hawks reveal their recollections, the work and play in which Bob Dylan and the Band engaged in Woodstock New York late in 1966 and 1967 will forever be swathed in mystery. This despite the best efforts of the filmmakers who created Down in the Flood, covering (almost) exhaustively the cycle of the seasons spanning that now legendary time in the Catskill retreat through interviews with musicians and musicologists including The Long ...

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July 6, 2013

The Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane

By DOUG COLLETTE

Rolling StonesCrossfire HurricaneEagle Vision2012Crossfire Hurricane is not a definitive history of the Rolling Stones but, as filmmaker Brett Morgen admits, it's not intended to be. Whether or not the director knows the film is nevertheless an accurate reflection of the iconic group is arguable though. As it touches upon some, but not all, of the landmark moments during the Stones' fifty years together, it comes across just as the group so often has: a tease.It's a tease hard to resist watching, however, if only for the very fact the group ...

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June 2, 2013

Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker

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By WADE LUQUET

James BookerBayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James BookerLily Keber2013Ask jazz fans outside of New Orleans if they have heard of James Booker and most will lean back, rub their chin and say they know they have heard the name. Unless you lived in Europe in the seventies and eighties, where he was loved--or were lucky enough to hear him or play with him in his hometown of New Orleans--the name may not even be familiar. To those of us who did our laundry on Monday nights at the Maple Leaf Bar ...

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May 30, 2013

A Great Day in Harlem: The Spirit Lives - 50 Years On

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By IAN PATTERSON

[ This encore presentation from January 2009 celebrates Jean Bach, director of A Great Day in Harlem. Ms. Bach died on May 27th at her home in Manhattan. She was 94. ] It is probably the most celebrated ensemble jazz portrait of all time. Fifty-seven of the greatest jazz musicians gathered together on the steps of a Harlem brownstone early one morning in August 1958--a living family tree of the history of jazz. And yet, the absentees from photographer Art Kane's enduringly fascinating A Great Day in Harlem are notable. Not present were Louis ...

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April 28, 2013

The Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet: Concert For Fukushima Wels 2011

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By EYAL HAREUVENI

The Peter Brötzmann Chicago TentetConcert For Fukushima Wels 2011PanRec/Trost Records2013 In 2011 the Music Unlimited Festival in Wels, Austria, celebrated Peter Brötzmann's 70th birthday (as well as the festival's 25th year edition), under the title Long Story Short. Brötzmann was asked to curate the program and after two years of preparation he ended with 40 musicians, in new and not-so-new formations, who gathered to celebrate over four packed days what Brötzmann stands for--intensity, freedom, chin up and never give up, power and attitude. On the last day of ...

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