Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

Rolling Stones: Sweet Summer Sun & Havana Moon DVD/CD

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
It might be fair to say that any concert appearance by a band with fifty years plus history is an occasion in itself and doubly so (or more) to offer that observation about the Rolling Stones. Who would've guessed in 1963, 1973 or 1983 that the group would not only still be together in 2016, but playing regularly around the world? Or remain a sufficiently popular draw to attract the huge crowds that attended the concert(s) in London's Hyde Park in 2013 and, three years later, the free show in Cuba in March. Playing with a vigor matching, even transcending the spectacular production of these concerts, the Rolling Stones render them worth recording on audio and video, not just to memorialize the occasions but document the vitality at their longstanding unity.

Rolling Stones
Sweet Summer Sun
Eagle Vision
2016

The fact this CD/DVD set (a jewel box within a j-card) isn't packaged in the stylized sets of the Stones 'From the Vault' releases of recent years (and this title's companion piece) doesn't lessen either its value or attraction. Nineteen songs from two shows (one on the very same date of the band's pivotal return to the stage in 1969) differ slightly, but the varied inclusions only point up the wisdom of issuing Sweet Summer Sun in both configurations.

Because the gloriously sloppy playing offsets prosaic material such as "It's Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It) and enhances the power of great songs like "Street Fighting Man"-where guitarist Keith Richards emphasizes the tune's rhythmic foundation as much as bassist Daryl Jones' descending run at the end-the performance is well-worth repeated hearing as much or more than viewing the film more than once.

And that, in turn, is a tribute to how well such songs as "Gimme Shelter" have aged : holding to the splendid original arrangements of numbers like that and "Honky Tonk Women," with horns complementing Chuck Leavell's barrelhouse piano, also reaffirms the wisdom of the sit-in by Mick Taylor during "Midnight Rambler;" the once-estranged guitarist aids in reinforcing the song's (and by extension the band's) blues roots, almost but not quite as forcefully as drummer Charlie Watts' booming rhythm.

As captured in a variety of panoramic shots by filmmaker Paul Dugdale, the theatrics on that tune and during the even more extravagant production of "Sympathy for the Devil" end up being extensions of the atmosphere within the material itself; even the fire and faux brimstone with Jagger in costume on the latter isn't so scary as Keith in smoky shadow silhouette or playing dirty blues rock with jovial guitar partner Ronnie Wood.

It's most appropriate this Rolling Stones show takes place in the heart of London, England to prove how fully and completely they've assumed the collective role of the Charles Dickensian characters they've created with "Jumpin' Jack Flash."

Rolling Stones
Havana Moon
Eagle Vision
2016

Various stages of rapture in faces and body language around the stage in 2013 reappear in 2016 where a juxtaposed finale of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" couldn't more telling. Unless it's than the inclusion of "Before They Make Me Run" on both these Stones live packages: a slice of life of Richards' from Some Girls (Rolling Stones, 1978), it might well serve as a theme song of the Rolling Stones these days every time they take the stage as continuing into their second half century?!.

In theaters for one night only in the autumn of 2016, around the world except for the United States, Havana Moon is really no more or less a vivid film than Sweet Summer Sun even given its sociopolitical significance, except that the Stones' playing is superior, not surprising as this was the culmination of their Latin American tour. Again, director Dugdale captures and reemphasizes the mammoth scale of the event with the three-dimensional interweaving of camera angles over above and around the massive stage into the equally mammoth, multi-demographic audience. The filmwork might be dizzying if he didn't tie its motion to that of the music itself, which transfixes from its start and builds in intensity.

The real cinematic drama lies in the interaction between the ten-member group of singers and musicians, manifest as clearly in Keith Richards' nods to bassist Daryl Jones as in his sharing of the spotlight (captured perfectly in a color shot within the twenty-page booklet) with Mick Jagger as he interweaves tart harp tone with the guitarist's acidic solo on the otherwise nondescript "Out of Control."

The polish of of Bob Clearmountain's audio mix, as preserved by Marcussen Mastering, does nothing to remove the fundamental edge from the band's sound and even in the abridged sequence of songs on the DVD, the expert pacing of the setlist is all too obvious. As is Jagger's restraint in making sure he doesn't run around so much his singing suffers; in face, all the way through to the encore, he seems as enlivened by the music as anyone in the audience.

And, in line with the various voice-overs of his and the other bandmembers in the film's intro and pre-encore footage, the iconic frontman displays a genuine humility in sharing the stage, not only with Sasha Allen on "Gimme Shelter," (where she nails her solo vocal), but in standing in between her and counterpart vocalist Bernard Fowler, near the end of "Sympathy for the Devil," basking in the accompaniment of the crowd.

That interlude is notable as just one of the many unprompted singalongs and chants from the gigantic all ages audience, the source of which is the durability of great originals ranging from "Paint It, Black" to "Brown Sugar." The power of the Rolling Stones' performance renders secondary not just the fireworks and big screen projections around the giant stage and its runway, but also the bright, full moon shining in the Havana sky.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Film Reviews
Album Reviews
Book Reviews
Film Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Book Reviews
Film Reviews
Album Reviews
Extended Analysis
Book Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Read more articles
From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD Blu Ray)

From The Vault: No...

Eagle Vision
2018

buy
On Air

On Air

Polydor Records
2017

buy
Sticky Fingers Super Deluxe Box Set

Sticky Fingers Super...

Universal International
2015

buy
Sticky Fingers Deluxe Edition

Sticky Fingers Deluxe...

Capitol Records
2015

buy

Related Articles

Read Three releases on Iluso Records Multiple Reviews
Three releases on Iluso Records
By John Eyles
May 24, 2019
Read 3x3: Piano Trios, vol. V Multiple Reviews
3x3: Piano Trios, vol. V
By Geno Thackara
May 18, 2019
Read Bill Evans and Wes Montgomery: Masters At Work Multiple Reviews
Bill Evans and Wes Montgomery: Masters At Work
By Doug Collette
May 17, 2019
Read The Sounds of Saxophones Multiple Reviews
The Sounds of Saxophones
By Jerome Wilson
April 26, 2019
Read Alex Chilton: Roots In The Sky Multiple Reviews
Alex Chilton: Roots In The Sky
By Doug Collette
April 20, 2019
Read Piano in Solitude Multiple Reviews
Piano in Solitude
By Geno Thackara
April 14, 2019