Stan Getz Live Is A Tribute To The Legacies Of Both Getz And Nobs

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Montreux Sounds

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Montreux Sounds

Claude Nobs started what is today one of the most respected festivals in the music world over forty five years ago when he founded the Montreux Jazz Festival.  Little did he know at the time that it would grow to be what it has become today.  It has grown from hosting the world’s best jazz artists and groups to being the venue that every band and artist across the spectrum dreams of playing.  It has indeed hosted some of the best of the best and some of the best to be, as is evidenced through the deal made between Montreux Sounds and Eagle Rock Entertainment.  The deal between the two companies has garnered some of the best live recordings to date.  It has also helped Eagle Rock maintain its place at the front of the class in terms of live recordings.  And it has continued to do so with the release of a recording that is a classic Montreux performance in every form of the word.  The recording in question is of the late great sax player Stan Getz.  The recording in question is taken from Getz’s very first ever performance at Montreux in 1972.  He is joined by two other very highly respected jazz artists in keyboardists Chick Corea and drummer Tony Williams.  Along with bassist Stanley Clarke, the quartet’s performance stands as a true tribute the legacy of not only the Montreux Jazz Festival, but to its now dearly departed founder, Claude Nobs.  Mr. Nobs would have been proud to see this recording finally see the light of day.  And so will true jazz lovers, too.

True lovers of jazz will appreciate this recording for a variety of reasons.  One of those reasons is the backstory provided by Corea himself in the DVD’s bonus booklet.  Corea states in the bonus liner notes that the quartet seen in this recording was also the group that ended up going out on tour with Getz prior to the show in 1971.  According to Corea, Getz was planning to go out on the road in ’71, but had no band with which to tour.  After making some contacts, the group presented here is the group that toured together.  It’s obvious that during that tour, a bond had formed between the band members.  Getz pulls back time and again throughout the roughly hour long set, allowing his band mates to get their time in the spotlight and then some.  It was his quiet way of telling the audiences that the show wasn’t about him.  It was about everyone on stage.  Again, this is echoed through the sentiments shared in the DVDs bonus booklet.  Corea shares so much insight on how he came to be friends with Getz and on how the group grew as friends and individuals.  So few people take the time to read liner notes, etc. on DVDs, Blu-rays, and CDs.  But this is one of those examples of why those booklets and liner notes aren’t always just wasted ink.  It helps to make this show more than just a recording.  Because of those liner notes, it becomes a fully immersive musical experience and equally important historical document of sorts.

The bonus booklet included with Stan Getz: Live at Montreux 1972 is but one part of what makes this live recording so enjoyable is the performance of the band.  As Corea noted in the bonus booklet, the band seen in this recording is the same band that toured with Getz the previous year.  What’s so amazing about the performance is that while the band had already played a handful of shows through 1971, just watching the band’s members perform together here one would think that they were playing together for the first time.  There was so much energy among the entire group in every song.  Williams’ drumming was completely off the charts.  It goes without saying that his playing is something to which EVERY drummer today should aspire.  The precision yet seeming controlled chaos of what he did is awe inspiring, even today.  And Getz’s own performance on the likes of ‘La Fiesta’ is just as incredible.  He proved that he was just as talented playing rather up-tempo pieces as he was playing slower pieces, like ‘Lush Life’ and the show’s opener, ‘Captain Marvel.’  The way that his fingers moved on ‘La Fiesta’, one would expect them to get tangled among themselves.  And his breath control, handling such long strains is incredible.  That set against his chops on the set’s slower songs proves why he is still so revered among jazz artists and musicians overall even today.  Corea exhibits his own talent throughout the show.  Again, it is something audiences must see for themselves to fully appreciate.  And appreciate it they will when they pick up this performance both on DVD and CD.  That’s right.  It’s available not only on DVD, but CD, too.  This is another positive to the recording’s overall presentation.

Stan Getz: Live at Montreux 1972 is a stunning tribute both to the legacy of Stan Getz and his band mates, and to the festival’s late founder, Claude Nobs.  The DVD presentation alone is outstanding for a variety of reasons.  Two of those reasons are already listed off here.  It is put over the top thanks to the inclusion of a solely CD recording as well.  This is hardly the first time that Eagle Rock has included a CD recording as an option for its live recordings.  As a matter of fact, Eagle Rock has done so with pretty much every live recording that it has released to date.  So why is this performance so important on both DVD and CD?  It is important because it completes the documentation of this classic performance and solidifies even more both the talents of the musicians presented here and the legacy of the Montreux Jazz Festival.  The performance is available now on both DVD and CD.  More information on this and other Montreux Jazz Festival recordings is available online at http://www.eaglerockent.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock Keeps Rolling With Miles Davis Live At Montreux 1991

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment proved throughout 2012 why it is one of the leaders in live recordings.  There was not one bad recording from this company throughout the year.  Now with the start of a new year, Eagle Rock has picked right back up where it left off.  It started the year in big fashion with the release of Deep Purple Live in Paris 1975.  Now only a couple months later, Eagle Rock has released yet another top notch release in the form of Miles Davis Live at Montreux 1991.

Miles Davis’ performance at Montreux in 1991 was not the first visit that the legendary trumpet player had made to the equally legendary music festival.  It would though, be his last.  Only months after this performance, Davis sadly passed away.  Two years ago, Davis’ complete performances were culled for a complete box set also released by Eagle Rock Entertainment.  While two years may not seem like that much time, it actually is.  It is very easy for just such a box set to go out of print in that time.  As a result of that possibility, audiences now get to re-live one of the most iconic of Davis’ performances at Montreux on DVD and Blu-ray.  Considering that this concert has already been released as part of a larger box set, one is left to question what makes this single disc performance worth one’s time.  The answer is simple.  Over two decades have passed since this concert was originally recorded.  The footage recorded for that show has stood the test of time quite well.  Both the video and audio are outstanding.  And the set list chosen for the performance is just as impressive.  Together, all three make this a performance that any Miles Davis aficionado will enjoy.

This final performance by Miles Davis at the Montreux Jazz Festival featured not just Miles but also the Gil Evans Orchestra and another legend in his own right, Quincy Jones.  The control that the entire group has throughout each song really comes through so expertly thanks to the audio mixing done to give new birth to this performance.  And even at twenty-plus years old, the footage looks extraordinary, as if it hadn’t aged a day.  That is a tribute to those who worked so painstakingly to transfer the video from VHS to DVD and now Blu-ray.  While it may not have been entirely intended, one of the most interesting moments in this performance, speaking of footage, comes as Davis and company perform ‘Blues for Pablo.’  The way that the light trails off of Davis’ trumpet as he plays makes for such an incredible experience.  It makes the trumpet look almost as if it’s smoking.  And as slow as this song is, it simply makes for an incredible added element to the song.  Given, the way the light reflects and moves with Davis and his instrument was not an intended effect.  That was just the effect of the video recording equipment at the time.  But the mood of the song makes it such a fitting effect.  It adds a whole extra level to the song that can’t really be put into words.  Of course, it is just one of so many great numbers in this set.  Audiences that know Davis’ body of work will also enjoy the equally smooth ‘Summertime.’

‘Summertime’ is more up-tempo in this performance.  But it still doesn’t lose its originally bluesy feel.  Again this exemplifies the talent and professionalism of Davis, Jones, and the Gil Evans Orchestra.  It still stands out as another of the performance’s best numbers.  And it’s but one of so many that audiences will enjoy.

As if the numbers in this set list aren’t enough for viewers, audiences are also treated to an extra bonus as the now late founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, Claude Nobs, and others get their chance to share their memories of Miles and his influence on themselves and the music world as a whole.  Audiences will laugh at Nobs’ story of how he and Davis first met and what some of Davis’ first words to Nobs were.  Also sharing in the memories are Stanley Clarke, Jean Luc Ponty, and Al Di Meola.  For those who might not know, this trio of gentlemen played a big role through the years in bringing Miles Davis’ works to the masses, re-mastering them for the numerous albums that have been re-issued to CD.  Their stories are, much like those of Nobs, both entertaining and very deep in so many ways.  And they, like the other individuals interviewed for this feature, offer so much incredible insight into who Miles Davis was, and his importance to the world of music as a whole.   They are truly a bonus and a worthwhile one to what is just one more piece to this history of one of the music industry’s most important figures.  They work with the main performance feature to make this release one that any Miles Davis aficionado will want to add to their own home library.  Miles Davis Live at Montreux 1991 is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via the Eagle Rock Entertainment website at http://www.eagle-rock.com.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Stray Cats Live Recording Another “High Note” For Eagle Rock, Montreux Sounds

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/Montreux Sounds

Eagle Rock Entertainment and Montreux Sounds have churned out some of the year’s best live recordings ever since the two groups originally formed their partnership.  Now, with the release of Stray Cats: Live at Montreux 1981, the two companies have released another impressive piece of history from the history of the famed music festival. 

Stray Cats: Live at Montreux 1981 presents Brian Setzer and his brothers in the Stray Cats in one of the trio’s most iconic performances.  As renowned as the Montreux Festival is, it is a bold statement for the Stray Cats to have been invited to perform.  It was a statement of belief not only in the band, but also in the old school rockabilly style sound.  Setzer and company made festival founder Claude Nobs and the audience more than proud with this performance, as the group kept the audience moving from start to finish.  Even when the band finished its main set with its classic hit, ‘Rock This Town’, the audiences still wanted more.  And the band gave the audience exactly what it wanted.  For that matter, it gave the audience what it wanted four more times.  The band came back for four encores, as that’s exactly what the audience wanted.  Cheers filled the room throughout the performance, even after Setzer and band mates Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom finally left the stage for the last time.

The band’s set was just one part of the overall success of this recording.  That the footage survived for over three decades is impressive in itself.  It will bring back a sense of nostalgia for fans who remember this iconic band from its heyday, and will introduce new audiences to one of the most important bands in the rebirth of the rockabilly style.  Seeing the old recording style itself is the video equivalent to listening to a record on vinyl.  It’s simply a wonderful feeling.  And it’s a feeling that any rockabilly fan or music fan in general can enjoy any time they want now that this release is available now both in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via the Eagle Rock Entertainment website, http://www.eagle-rock.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.