‘Paco And John’ Is Another Impressive Entry In Eagle Rock’s Montreux Live Series

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Montreux Sounds/Universal Music Group

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Montreux Sounds/Universal Music Group

Fans of John McLaughlin have new reason to be excited this week.  That is because Eagle Rock Entertainment and Montreux Sounds have released a new archived performance by the veteran guitarist.  Paco An John Live at Montreux 1987 was released this Friday, June 24th.  The triple-disc set is not the first of McLaughlin’s Montreux performances to be released by the companies.  Five years ago, they released McLaughlin’s performance alongside fellow guitar virtuoso Carlos Santana at the 2011 Montreux Festival on Blu-ray.  This latest recording takes fans even farther back in time and presents him with another guitarist—Paco de Lucia.  There is plenty for fans of both musicians to appreciate in this new recording beginning with its set list.  This will be discussed shortly.  The duo’s stage presence is just as important to note.  It will be discussed later.  Last and most definitely not least of note in this set’s presentation is its companion booklet.  It brings everything full circle with this presentation and shows together with the previously noted elements why this recording is one more must have for any John McLaughlin fan.

Eagle Rock Entertainment and Montreux Sounds’ new archived concert recording Paco and John Live at Montreux 1987 is a new must have for any fan of Paco de Lucia.  It is just as much of a must have for any fan of John McLaughlin.  It is not the first of McLaughlin’s Montreux performances to be released by Eagle Rock and Montreux Sounds.  But it is unlike his previous released performances.  That is evident in the first of the set’s most important elements—its set list.  This concert’s set list features a mix of Mclaughlin and de Lucia’s own originals, and a number of covers, too.  McLaughlin makes note of this in the set’s companion booklet.  That will be discussed at more length later.  In all, the nine songs (technically ten since the set’s opener is a two-song medley of sorts) that make up the body of the concert total ninety-one minutes.  What’s important to note is that while nine (or ten) songs might not seem like much, each song’s arrangement is so in depth that each one must be truly experienced in order to be fully understood and appreciated.  In other words, the set list presented here is not one that one can just have on in the background when experiencing it.  It is one that requires full attention from one song to the next in order to be fully appreciated.  It is just one of the recording’s most important elements.  McLaughlin and de Lucia’s stage presence is just as important to note here as the show’s set list.

The set list featured in Paco de Lucia and John McLaughlin’s new live recording is an important part of the recording’s presentation in its own right.  That is made clear simply by listening through the entirety of its ninety-one minute run time.  It is just one of the recording’s most important elements.  McLaughlin and de Lucia’s stage presence is just as important to note in this recording as the concert’s set list.  The duo’s stage presence is so important to note because of how little the pair does throughout the course of its performance.  Both men spend the length of their performance sitting down while they perform.  There’s no walking around on stage, pacing back and forth.  Even with this being the case, both men still manage to keep audiences entertained and engaged.  That is done primarily through each musician’s display of musical talents.  The precision and expertise exhibited in each man’s performance is impressive to say the very least.  Actually getting to see that expertise in the set’s DVD reveals just how impressive their talents are.  The pair’s facial gestures do just as much for their stage presence as their performance of the set’s featured songs.  This includes the moments when each is alone on stage and when the pair is performing together.  The sly little smiles that the pair share with one another as they perform speak volumes.  Those motions do just as much to entertain as do those of any performer’s more active behavior on stage.  That is a true testament to the power of the simplicity in the pair’s stage presence.  It shows that just as the old adage states, big things sometimes do indeed come in small packages.  Now, keeping this in mind, it should be clear why de Lucia an McLaughlin’s stage presence is so important to note in the overall presentation of this recording.  Their stage presence is so simple.  Yet it does so much for the experience even in (and perhaps thanks to) its simplicity.  When that simple and so entertaining stage presence is set against the recording’s set list, both elements prove even more their importance to this recording.  They are not its only important elements, either.  The companion booklet that is included in the recording is just as important to its presentation as the recording’s set list and its performers’ stage presence.

The set list featured in Paco and John Live at Montreux 1987 is its own important element in the set’s overall presentation.  The same can be said of de Lucia and McLaughlin’s stage presence.  Both elements are each important in their own way to the recording’s presentation.  They are, however, not its only important elements.  The companion booklet that comes with the set is just as important to the set’s presentation as those other noted elements.  The companion booklet should be noted in large part because of its liner notes.  The notes in question were written by John McLaughlin.  McLaughlin discusses in the notes the show’s set list and his friendship with de Lucia.  There is even a very small music theory lesson of sorts in the liner notes as he discusses Bulerias, which he states are “one of the pillars of the Flamenco musical traditions.”  The liner notes are brief, but also concise.  In the end, it brings the presentation full circle.  It rounds out the recording’s overall experience, proving once and for all why Paco and John Live at Montreux 1987 is one more must have for fans of both de Lucia and McLaughlin.

Paco and John Live at Montreux 1987 is a must have for any fan of Paco de Lucia and John McLaughlin.  It is one of those rare presentations that does so much with so little.  This is evident in the show’s set list, which runs a total of ninety-one minutes.  It features compositions from McLaughlin and de Lucia but from their counterparts, too.  Those that listen closely will note the difference in sound and style between each song, too.  The duo’s performance on stage is so simple throughout.  As odd as it may seem, that simplicity actually makes a big impact on the experience.  The show’s liner notes are just as simple yet add their own depth to the experience, too.  Each element proves in the end to be important in its own right to the whole of this recording.  Altogether they make Paco and John Live at Montreux 1987, again, a live recording (and recording in general) that every one of de Lucia and McLaughlin’s fans should have in their own home music collections.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

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Music’s Past, Present, And Future Come Together In 2015’s Best New Live CDs List

Going to see live shows is anything but cheap. Anyone that has ever been to one will attest to that. Regardless of whether the show is close by or a long drive, it seems going to see shows nowadays is anything but cheap. Not to mention it’s not always easy because of time constraints. Weekday and weeknight shows are anything but easy just because of scheduling regardless of whether or not one has a family. So that leaves the question what is one to do in place of going to see a show? The answer: Pick up one’s favorite live recording on CD or DVD/Blu-ray. Both formats offer their own pros and cons. And in many cases, what is available on CD might not necessarily be available on DVD/Blu-ray or vice versa. That leads to the need for a list both for the year’s best new live CDs and new live DVDs/BDs. For the sake of this list the attention will go to the year’s best new live CDs. This year’s list includes a number of live CDs that were not accompanied by live DVDs and Blu-rays. Legendary guitarist Jeff Beck’s new live CD Live + is one of those that only received the CD treatment. It topped this year’s list. Saxon’s The Saxon Chronicles is another live CD that didn’t get the companion DVD/BD treatment. It’s on the list, too as is Birth of Joy’s Live at UBU, Jimi Hendrix’s Atlanta Pop Festival performance, and Zodiac’s The Road Tapes Volume 1. In other cases such as The Rolling Stones’ “From The Vault” recordings, audiences were lucky enough to get the recordings in complete packages. The same applies with Whitechapel’s Brotherhood of the Blade. These are just some of the titles that made the cut for this year’s list of the year’s best new live CD recordings. This was by no means an easy list to assemble. So no offense is meant against any recording that was left off the list. Set lists had to be taken into account as well as production values and also the acts’ stage presence. Taking all of that into account the following is the final list. Without any further ado I offer to you, dear readers, 2015’s Top New Live CDs.

2015 TOP NEW LIVE CDS

1. JEFF BECK — LIVE +

2. CARLOS SANTANA/JOHN MCLAUGHLIN — LIVE AT MONTREUX 2011

3. LYNYRD SKYNYRD — SWEET HOME ALABAMA

4. DARYLL HALL AND JOHN OATES — LIVE IN DUBLIN

5. TESSERACT — ODYSSEY

6. JIMI HENDRIX — ATLANTA POP FESTIVAL

7. ZODIAC — THE ROAD TAPES VOLUME 1

8. WHITECHAPEL — BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE

9. THE ROLLING STONES — FROM THE VAULT: LIVE AT THE TOKYO DOME

10. THE ROLLING STONES — FROM THE VAULT: LIVE IN LEEDS

11. THE ROLLING STONES — FROM THE VAULT: THE MARQUEE CLUB LIVE IN 1971

12. EUROPE — WAR OF KINGS (SPECIAL EDITION WITH WACKEN OPEN AIR 2015 CONCERT)

13. SAXON — THE SAXON CHRONICLES

14. EMERSON, LAKE, & PALMER — LIVE AT MONTREUX 2011

15. BIRTH OF JOY — LIVE AT UBU

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Santana-McLaughlin Montreux Re-Issue Is Another Shining Beacon From Eagle Rock

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Forty-eight years ago a man named Claude Knobs founded the Montreux Jazz Festival. In the decades since its founding, the once jazz-only festival has grown to become one of the world’s most renowned festivals featuring acts from every one of the music industry’s genres. Sadly, Knobs passed away two years ago. But even in his absence, the festival has continued on and remained one of the world’s elite music festivals. And thanks to the efforts of the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment that reputation has been held strong due to the label’s partnership with Montreux Sounds. The companies’ partnership has resulted in a number of performances from the festival’s history being released in recent years. That list includes performances from the likes of: Stan Getz, Phil Collins, Etta James, ZZ Top, and The Raconteurs among so many others. Last week, that list grew just a little more when the companies revisited Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin’s 2011 Invitation to Illumination performance and re-issued the concert in a double-disc CD presentation. Originally released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2013, this latest release is just as enjoyable for those that might not already own the concert’s original DVD and/or BD presentation. Of course it is just as enjoyable for anyone that already owns said presentations, too. The main reason that it is so enjoyable is its set list. Just as with Eagle Rock’s 2012 Santana live release, Greatest Hits Live at Montreux 2011, this show’s set list feels more like one giant jam session than a specifically structured set list. By direct connection, the stage presence of the musicians on stage is just as noteworthy in the recording’s enjoyment and success. Last of note in this recording is the concert’s audio mix. Those with surround sound home theater systems will especially appreciate that clarity of the recording’s audio mix. Together with the set list and the band’s stage presence, that expert audio mix is one more factor that reminds audiences why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leader of the pack in live recordings. Collectively, all three elements show why this recording is one of the best of this year’s crop of re-issues.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new double-disc presentation of Carlos Santana & John Mclaughlin’s performance at the 2011 Montreux Jazz Festival is not the first time that the recording has been released. Despite that, this audio-only presentation is just as enjoyable as the concert’s 2013 DVD and Blu-ray presentation of the concert. This applies both for those that already own the concert’s DVD and/or Blu-ray presentation and for those that have neither. The main reason that it is so enjoyable for all involved is its set list. The nearly two and a half hour performance (two hours and fourteen minutes to be exact) is composed of sixteen tracks that touch on quite a few different genres. There is a tribute to Led Zeppelin early on as Santana and company cover the legendary rock band’s hit single ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ There are also tributes to Miles Davis and John Coletrane later in the performance in the form of ‘Black Satin’ and ‘A Love Supreme’ respectively. There is also another tribute to Coletrane earlier in the show in the form of ‘Naima,’ which is another of the legendary sax player’s greatest hits. As if these numbers aren’t enough, there are also of plenty of other original pieces performed by Santana and his fellow musicians pulled from Santana and McLaughlin’s 1973 album Love Devotion Surrender. The combination of the artists’ covers and original compositions results in a set list that is rich and completely engaging. Being so rich and engaging, audiences won’t even realize that so much time has passed by the time they reach the concert’s finale performance. That in itself is the mark of a truly talented group of musicians. Speaking of the musicians’ collective talents, their talents are another reason that audiences will enjoy this latest release of Invitation to Illumination.

The extensive set list compiled for Invitation to Illumination is in itself plenty of reason for fans of Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin to pick up this newly re-issued concert recording. It runs nearly two and a half hours and spans some sixteen songs. At no point in that time will audiences ever find themselves checking the time as the concert progresses. Rather, they will find themselves becoming lost in the concert in the best way possible. That says quite a bit within itself. Of course the concert’s chosen set list is only part of what makes it so enjoyable. The stage presence of Santana and his fellow musicians is another reason that audiences will enjoy the show. Taking in a performance by Carlos Santana and his band mates is more than simply taking in a performance from the highly talented musicians. Taking in a performance of these individuals is taking in a full musical experience. This is just as true in Santana & McLaughlin: Invitation to Illumination as it was on Carlos Santana: Greatest Hits Live at Montreux 2011. It is incredible to hear Santana and his band mates sharing the stage throughout the two-hour plus performance. Unlike so many other acts out there today, Santana steps back on multiple occasions, allowing his band mates to get their fair share of time in the limelight. Simply put, he not only talks the talk, but walks the walk, too. Such humility, willingness to share the spotlight, and talent shows why Santana is still one of the greatest guitarists in modern music history. Audiences will be in awe at the talent of both Dennis Chambers and Santana’s own wife, Cyndi Blackman Santana as they work behind their kits. Blackman Santana’s skill with the sticks is unparalleled. Watching her perform whether with the rest of the band or by herself on her drum solo is like watching controlled chaos. By contrast, Chambers’ own performance behind his kit is the picture of talent and composure. Chambers’ body language is one of someone that is entirely relaxed. Yet his playing would seem otherwise. It’s an amazing juxtaposition. The band overall presents such talent throughout its performance. It’s yet another way in which the band’s stage presence shows itself to be an important part of the recording’s whole. Together with the show’s extensive set list, both elements show once again why Invitation to Illumination is a brightly shining live recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment.

The set list assembled for Invitation to Illumination and the stage presence of the assembled musicians are both key reasons that the recording is so entertaining for audiences. They are just part of the whole of the recording’s enjoyment in its new double-disc CD presentation. The concert’s final audio mix rounds out the reasons that the concert shines so brightly. Those with surround sound home theater systems will especially appreciate that clarity of the recording’s audio mix. That is not to say that those without a home theater system will be left out in the cold per se. Rather it is just to say that the audio mix really lends itself to a home theater system even having been recorded at an indoor venue. There is something about the combined talents of the musicians on stage that just gives the performance that much power. This includes both the concert’s more raucous moments and even its more reserved moments. Audiences will agree with this sentiment when they pick up this recording for themselves. Together with the concert’s set list and the performers’ stage presence, it becomes the finishing touch on a recording that is one more brightly shining recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment even having been previously released.

While it is not the first time that Eagle Rock Entertainment has released the concert, the company’s new double-disc CD presentation of Invitation to Illumination still shines just as brightly as the concert’s previous DVD and Blu-ray presentation. This is the case both for those that already own one or both of the previously released presentations and for those that don’t already own either. The show’s set list coupled with the stage presence and talents of the performers makes for plenty of enjoyment in its new re-issue. The concert’s expert audio mix makes it even more of a joy for audiences. All three elements taken together make Invitation to Illumination a concert that is just as enjoyable the second time around as the first. Santana & McLaughlin: Invitation to Illumination Live at Montreux 2011 is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock Keeps Soaring With Santana’s Latest Live Release

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/Montreux Sounds

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/Montreux Sounds

Thank goodness for Carlos Santana.  And Thank goodness for Eagle Rock Entertainment.  This has been stated before already with the 2012 release of Carlos Santana: Greatest Hits Live at Montreux 2011.  Now Eagle Rock has finished what it started with the release of Santana’s performance that same year with fellow guitar legend John McLaughlin (The Mahavishnu Orchestra).  It has already been noted of seeing Carlos Santana and company live before that to see these musicians perform live is to not just see a concert.  Seeing Carlos Santana and his band mates live is to truly take part in a musical experience.  That applies in this brand new release just as much as in Eagle Rock’s previous live Santana Blu-ray.  The musical experience is just one portion of what makes Santana & McLaughlin: Live at Montreux 2011 such a joy for music aficionados.  Tied directly into the experience is the show’s set list.  Just as with Santana’s previous live release via Eagle Rock, this show’s set list feels more like one giant jam session than a specifically structured set list.  This is far better than anyone could realize.  And lastly, audiences with HDTVs will appreciate the clarity of the recording’s sound and picture.  Those with surround sound home theater systems will especially appreciate that clarity.  Together with the set list and the general performance, it is one more factor that reminds audiences why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leader of the pack in live recordings.

Taking in a performance of Carlos Santana and his band mates is more than simply taking in a performance from the highly talented musicians.  Taking in a performance of these individuals is taking in a full musical experience.  This is just as true in Santana & McLaughlin: Invitation to Illumination as it was on Carlos Santana: Greatest Hits Live at Montreux 2011.  It is incredible to see Santana and his band mates sharing the stage throughout the two-hour plus performance.  Unlike so many other bands out there today, Santana steps back on multiple occasions, allowing his band mates to get their fair share of time in the limelight.  Simply put, he not only talks the talk, but walks the walk, too.  Such humility, willingness to share the spotlight, and talent shows why Santana is still one of the greatest guitarists in modern music history.  Audiences that have not yet gotten to see Eagle Rock’s previous performance from Santana and company will be in awe at the talent of both drummers Dennis Chambers and Santana’s own wife, Cyndi Blackman Santana.  Blackman Santana’s skill with the sticks is unparalleled.  Watching her perform whether with the rest of the band or by herself on her drum solo is like watching controlled chaos.  By contrast, Chambers’ own performance behind his kit is the picture of talent and composure.  Chambers’ body language is one of someone that is entirely relaxed.  Yet his playing would seem otherwise.  It’s an amazing juxtaposition.  The band overall presents such talent throughout its performance. 

The band’s performance throughout the two-hour plus concert is the central point of the recording.  Also to be taken into consideration in the overall presentation is the show’s set list.  The set list for this concert was comprised largely of songs from the classic 1973 album, Love Devotion Surrender.  However, fans will also take note early on of the medley of songs including covers of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’, Bob Dylan’s ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’ and saxophonist John Coletrane’s ‘Peace on Earth’.  It even contains a cover of Albert Ayler’s ‘Our Prayer.’  The cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ was the highest of highlights throughout the medley of tunes.  From the guitar work of both Santana and McLaughlin to David K. Matthews’ keyboards to every part in between, it is a cover that would make both Jimmy Page and Robert Plant proud if they see this performance.  The same can be said of the late John Bonham’s son, Jason, too.  While it’s a cover, one can’t help but think to one’s own self, which version is really better?  Zeppelin’s version or this updated take on the classic song?  That’s a tough call.  But what can be said is that it is just as good as the original, if not better.  It is an amazing point in the overall performance.  Audiences will of course each find their own moment that they will call their favorite.  This is just one of so many from which audiences will be able to choose.  And it’s just one of so many that make Invitation to Illumination such a joy for audiences of all ages.

The set list and the general performance work together with this new release to make it one of the year’s best live recordings.  There is one more factor that audiences should consider in examining what makes it one more expert release from Eagle Rock Entertainment.  That factor is the presentation’s audio and video mix.  The audio and video mix of this presentation is right on par with each live recording already released so far by Eagle Rock Entertainment this year.  Those with home theater surround sound systems and the ability to set the audio on their HDTVs to a music setting will especially appreciate this.  Those audiences will be entirely enveloped by the concert and see just why taking in a performance by Carlos Santana and his band mates is in fact not just taking in a performance, but being part of a true musical experience.  Santana & McLaughlin: Invitation to Illumination Live at Montreux 2011 is available now in stores and online.  Fans can keep up with the latest news and more from Carlos Santana online at http://www.santana.com and http://www.facebook.com/carlossantana

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.