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Film Review

One Night With Blue Note


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One Night With Blue Note
Blue Note

This February 22, 1985 concert at Town Hall in New York featured a cast of jazz artists who’ve become legendary. Blue Note has inserted informative narrative documentary between numbers, so that the concert now comes to us up close and personal with added information to make it all come together in our own living rooms, dens, and home offices. The camera shots come in from varying angles and capture both the full ensemble views and individual close-ups. The concert’s transcribed sound quality remains excellent.

This historic reunion and rebirth of the Blue Note label brings together “old guard” veterans and “new faces,” with some of their best performances. In their double-breasted suits, Freddie Hubbard and James Newton lead with confidence and a heartfelt demeanor. Stanley Jordan sidles easily through the blues and mainstream jazz, while the camera moves in to reveal the secrets of his thrilling, two-handed guitar process. Grover Washington, Jr. and Kenny Burrell interpret “Summertime” with a soothing air, while Art Blakey leads his sextet in a fiery arrangement of “Moanin’.” The camera moves back far enough to reveal how Hubbard hands off to Johnny Griffin and how each of the performers feel when they’re not in the spotlight. Solo piano performances by McCoy Tyner and Cecil Taylor differ in content, but remain solidly embedded in the central mission of mainstream jazz.

Michel Petrucciani and Charles Lloyd interpret “Tone Poem” with familiar straight-ahead clarity. Watching them in action can be quite a thrill. As the camera captures the ensemble from the front, rear and sides, you start to feel as if you were there for this auditorium performance. This concert has been issued before, on VHS and on record. Its historical significance cannot be ignored. With positive changes in what we can now accomplish technologically, Blue Note’s highly recommended DVD makes the future of jazz look even brighter.

Approximate Running Time: 1 hour 40 minutes.

Track Listing:Cantaloupe Island; Recorda-Me; Little B’s Poem; Bouquet; Jumpin’ Jack; Summertime; Moanin’; Sweet and Lovely; Appointment in Ghana; Tone Poem; Blues Walk; The Jumpin’ Blues; Scratch My Back; Pontos Cantatos.

Concert musical director: Michael Cuscuna.

DVD producer: Stephen Reed.

Personnel: Freddie Hubbard- trumpet, flugelhorn; Woody Shaw- trumpet; Curtis Fuller- trombone; James Newton- flute; Grover Washington, Jr.- soprano saxophone; Lou Donaldson, Jackie McLean- alto saxophone; Charles Lloyd, Stanley Turrentine, Johnny Griffin, Joe Henderson- tenor saxophone; Kenny Burrell, Stanley Jordan- guitar; Jimmy Smith- organ; Bobby Hutcherson- vibraphone; Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Walter Davis, Jr., Michel Petrucciani, Cecil Taylor- piano; Ron Carter, Cecil McBee, Reggie Workman- bass; Art Blakey, Grady Tate, Jack DeJohnette, Tony Williams- drums.

Special Features:
Blue Note album cover art: 50 album covers with dates and descriptions.
Francis Wolff photo gallery: 52 classic black & white photos.
5.1 Surround Mix.
Japanese, French, and Spanish subtitles.

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