MVD Entertainment Group Re-Issuing Sonny Rollins Live Concert Documentary

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group

MVD Entertainment Group will re-issue another one of documentarian Robert Mugge’s music-based docs this summer.

The independent entertainment company will re-issue Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus Aug. 4 on DVD and Blu-ray.  The program, which has been released at least twice already on DVD since 1999 by two other independent companies, focuses on two key performances by Rollins – May 18, 1986 performance at Tokyo Koseinenken Hall and Aug. 24, 1986 at Opus 40 Sculpture Park in New York.

The first performance was actually the second performance by Rollins and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra at the famed Tokyo concert hall on the same day.  The first concert on the day was recorded by a local Japanese television station.  A local Japanese radio station recorded the second concert alongside Mugge and his limited film crew.

The second performance was recorded in a more laid back setting with Rollins joined by a much smaller group of musicians—Bob Crenshaw (bass), Clifton Anderson (saxophone), Mark Soskin (piano) and Marvin “Smitty” Smith (drums)—in the public park.  Mugge’s film crew for this concert was larger than that used to record his performance earlier in the year in Japan.

Four 16-mm cameras were used for Rollins’ New York performance along with a 24-track recording truck.  The sound recorded at the Tokyo performance was taken from the Japanese radio station that recorded that concert alongside Mugge and company, while the show was captured on film by only two camera operators.

Along with the primary concert footage, Saxophone Colossus also features in-depth discussions by Rollins himself on a variety of topics including his own development as an artist and his wife Lucille’s role as his manager, producer and wife among many other topics.

Audiences can view a trailer for the upcoming re-issue online now here and can pre-order the program online via the MVD Shop and Amazon.  Both the DVD and Blu-ray are listed as retailing for MSRP of $19.95 on both sites.

More information on this and other titles from MVD Entertainment Group is available online now at:

 

 

 

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Mugge’s Alligator Records Doc Will Bring Pride And Joy To Every Blues Enthusiast

Courtesy:  MVD Entertainment Group

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group

Robert Mugge is one of the hidden gems of the documentary world.  For more than four decades he has recorded the history of American music in all of its various forms.  Films such as The Kingdom of Zydeco, Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus, and Hawaiian Rainbow & Kumu Hula: Keepers of a Culture have made Mugge an authority on American music.  They are just a few of the many projects that Mugge has helmed.  This past April MVD Visual re-issued yet another of his any films when it released Pride & Joy: The Story of Alligator Records.  Its release on Blu-ray marked the second time that it had ever been released, the last time being on Laser Disc in 1993.  Considering the relative failure of the medium and the more widespread success today of Blu-ray, the label’s story will hopefully reach a more widespread audience.  That is because for any music (and more specifically blues) enthusiast, it is an enjoyable presentation.  That is due in part to the manner in which the story is presented.  It isn’t just a documentary.  It is in fact one part documentary and one part concert recording.  This will be discussed shortly.  The history presented within the program’s documentary side is another important part of the program’s presentation considering the program’s title.  Last but definitely not least important in the program’s presentation is the program’s overall editing.  This will be discussed later.  It rounds out the program’s presentation.  Each element shows in the end to be a highly important part of the program’s overall presentation.  Altogether they make Pride & Joy: The Story of Alligator Records a story that any blues aficionado will agree hits all of the right notes.

Robert Mugge’s Pride & Joy: The Story of Alligator Records is yet another impressive presentation from the documentarian.  It is a presentation that blues aficionados will agree hits all of the right notes in telling the story of the famed blues label.  This is due in part to the program’s general presentation.  It is more than just a documentary.  Rather it is both a documentary and a concert experience.  It is not the first time that Mugge has gone this route with his documentaries, either. Deep Blues, The Kingdom of Zydeco and its recent follow-up (sequel) Zydeco Crossroads are also both presented in this same fashion.  Many of his previous films were presented in similar fashion, too.  So even having originally been released in 1992, using such a format at the time was nothing new for him.  The documentary side features interviews with Alligator Records founder and owner Bruce Iglauer and a handful of famous artists that at one time called the label home as well as some of the artists that once called the label home.  The other side of the program, its concert recording documents a handful of performances from one of the shows included in the label’s 20th anniversary tour.  The featured performances were from the artists listed on the documentary’s cover art.  They are expertly edited into the program throughout its presentation, making the two elements a solid collective foundation for the documentary.  Having noted this, the history presented within the program makes that foundation even more solid.

The foundation established by the two-part presentation of Pride & Joy: The Story of Alligator Records is a solid base for the program.  That foundation is strengthened even more through the history presented within the documentary’s interviews.  Speaking more specifically, the interviews with label founder and head Bruce Iglauer provide the bulk of the label’s history.  The label’s history is not told in just one sitting.  Rather it is split over many segments, throughout the program’s hour-plus run time, thus ensuring audiences’ maintained engagement from beginning to end.  This is tied in to the movie’s editing (another of the program’s noted key elements) and will be discussed later.  Audiences will be interested to learn of the label’s humble beginnings in Iglauer’s tiny apartment and how it grew from there into an operation based in a multi-story house to a full blown record label.  Again, this is all divided up over the course of the program’s presentation.  It is coupled throughout with performances by the program’s featured artists.  As if all of this isn’t enough there are plenty of other discussions linked to the label’s history including Iglauer’s practice of hiring staff right out of college due to new graduates’ mindset about the industry and how the label has maintained its place over that history as an independent label, thus allowing maintained control over distribution, recording processes, and more.  That and so much more is explained as part of the discussion on the label’s rich history.  That history couples with the documentary’s two-part presentation to make for even more enjoyment for blues fans.  That is not even having counted the many other interviews included in the documentary from its featured artists.  These are not the only elements that make Pride & Joy: The Story of Alligator Records such an interesting program for blues enthusiasts and music lovers in general.  The program’s editing might not seem all that important on the surface.  But in the bigger picture of the program it is one of the most important of the program’s elements.

Both the general presentation of Pride and Joy: The Story of Alligator Records and the history presented therein are key in their own way to the program’s overall presentation.  Even as important as they are to the documentary’s presentation, they are not its only important elements.  The program’s editing is just as important to its presentation as those noted elements.  It was previously noted in this review that the label’s history is presented not through one long interview and extensive history lesson.  Rather it is broken up over the course of the label’s hour-plus run time.  It is mixed in with performances by the artists featured on the cover of the documentary’s box and with interviews with said artists.  Sometimes the connections between the performances and interviews are relatively random.  But at other times they are far more noticeably deliberate.  Case in point the interview with Lonnie Brooks and his son.  The pair discusses the differences in its musical styles.  Brooks notes that his style is more rooted in pure blues while his son notes that his style is more rooted in rock and roll.  Immediately after, the story cuts to a performance by the pair.  The performance allows each man to display his own noted roots and influences.  In another key moment Koko Taylor discusses the link between the blues and the lives led by the artists who perform the music.  She notes that blacks have always lived the blues.  That is why it is so pure.  She goes on to note that despite this there is a need to connect to the audiences because other people have their own difficult situations in life, so it’s important to be able to reach them regardless.  That is coupled immediately with a decidedly powerful performance by Taylor exhibiting exactly what she had just discussed.  This is just one more example of the importance of the program’s editing in its presentation.  There are other interesting moments not tied to the program’s concert recording that exemplify the importance of the program’s editing just as much.  Case in point label founder Bruce Iglauer’s discussion on having control over the recording process and his philosophy of recording.  He notes in this interview segment that he likes to try and give every record a feeling like it has been recorded in a small club.  From there the program cuts to footage of Iglauer behind the glass as he works with Lil’ Ed in recording one of his songs.  This moment serves very well to illustrate that noted mindset.  It is exhibited through the energy exuded by Lil’ Ed and company in recording the song as well as the song’s sound.  Even though it is being recorded in a studio it truly does exhibit a feeling of a song that might be played in a club setting.  It is just one more of so many examples that could be cited in exhibiting the importance of the film’s editing.  When those other moments are set alongside the moments all noted here, the whole of the documentary’s editing proves to be just as important to its presentation as its featured history and its general two-part presentation.  All things considered Pride & Joy: The Story of Alligator Records shows in the end to be a program that every blues aficionado should see.  It is a program that hits all of the right notes for blues lovers everywhere.

Pride & Joy: The Story of Alligator Records is a documentary that every blues aficionado should see.  It is a program that hits all of the right notes for blues fans everywhere.  That is due in part to its general presentation.  Much like so many of Mugge’s other documentaries it is presented as not just one long documentary/history lesson.  Rather it crosses information and entertainment by making the documentary one part history lesson and one part concert recording.  The history in question is presented over the course of the program’s hour-plus run time.  It is mixed in with interviews with label founder and head Bruce Iglauer and some of the label’s most well-known names, and with the presentation’s concert recording.  This approach ensures audiences’ engagement and entertainment from beginning to end.  Staying on that note (no pun intended) the program’s editing is just as important to its presentation as the other noted elements.  The documentary’s editing seamlessly ties everything together and in turn brings everything full circle.  Each element proves, in the end, to be important in its own right to the overall presentation of Pride & Joy: The Story of Alligator Records.  Altogether they make this documentary re-issue a presentation that every blues aficionado should see.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via MVD Visual’s online store and via Amazon.  More information on this and other titles from Robert Mugge is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.robertmugge.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robert.mugge.3?fref=ts

 

 

More information on this and other titles from MVD Visual is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.mvdb2b.com

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

 

 

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The Kingdom Of Zydeco Is One Of 2016’s Top new DVD/Blu-Ray Re-issues

Courtesy: MVD Visual/Mug Shot PRoductions

Courtesy: MVD Visual/Mug Shot PRoductions

Documentarian Robert Mugge’s recently re-issued presentation The Kingdom of Zydeco is an intriguing glance into the realm of the genre which is noted in its title.  The roughly hour-plus documentary is a stark contrast to his more recent zydeco documentary Zydeco Crossroads.  But that is not necessarily a bad thing.  As a matter of fact its story, in comparison to that of Zydeco Crossroads proves itself to be its own hugely important part of the program’s whole.  Its central story (so to speak) is just one of its key elements.  The archived performance footage that is used to tell the program’s story is another important element that should be noted.  The program’s bonus material rounds out its presentation, connecting everything together.  More specifically one of the bonuses in particular ties everything together.  That is not to discount the other material included as bonuses.  It is just that the one item in particular ties itself to the program’s central story and its footage more so than the other featured bonuses.  That aside, the combination of the bonus material, the program’s central story, and its featured performances, makes this presentation in whole one that–together with Zydeco Crossroads—a whole that music lovers and fans of zydeco alike should experience at least once.

MVD Visual’s recently re-issued presentation of The Kingdom of Zydeco is a presentation that, together with Zydeco Crossroads, should be experienced at least once by both music lovers and zydeco fans alike.  The main reason for this is the story at the heart of the roughly hour-plus program. In comparison to the story at the heart of its counterpart the story at the center of The Kingdom of Zydeco isn’t really a story in the purest sense.  What it really is, is a glance into the genre that is zydeco.  At the heart of it all is a competition between the “old guard” and the “new guard.”  The “old guard” is represented by Boozoo Chavis.  The “new guard” is represented by Beau Jocque.  Viewers get to see in their musical battle two totally different styles of zydeco music—the pure, old school (Chavis) and the newer, more heterogeneous style (Jocque).  The difference in the two styles is quite clear when one pays close attention to both.  To that end, it could be said that Mugge (MUG-EE) presenting both sides (and in turn both styles) of the “battle” serves as a good starting point in discussions on the roots of zydeco music and its evolution over time.  There are also interviews with both men that are included with the presentation.  Hearing the passion in Chavis’ voice about the music juxtaposed by Jocque’s more laid back persona makes for even more discussion believe it not.  That is because that contrast could generate just as much discussion among audiences about the mindset of the performers then and now.  One could ask do today’s zydeco players have the fire that Chavis clearly had or could they be more laid back yet still have that passion?  Regardless, seeing the love that those in the “Kingdom of Zydeco” have for the music and its performers, viewers will see that “new school” or “old school,” zydeco is the musical lifeblood of so many.  Understanding this, audiences will gain a certain appreciation for the “story” at the center of The Kingdom of Zydeco.    It shows that while not necessarily a conventional story, it is one that serves as a good starting point on any lesson(s) about the genre and its rich history.  It is just one part of what makes this documentary worth the watch.  The noted performances by Chavis and Jocque are just as important to the program as its “story.”

The non-traditional story that lies at the center of The Kingdom of Zydeco is in itself an important part of this recently re-issued documentary.  That is because while non-traditional, it does serve as a good starting point for any lesson(s) on zydeco music and its rich history.  For all of the importance that it presents it is just one part of what makes this program worth experiencing.  The performances that are presented within the program are just as important to the program as the program’s central “story.”  The performances are of central figures Boozoo Chavis and Beau Jocque.  It has been noted already but is worth noting again that between the pair there are clearly noticeable differences in their styles.  Chavis’ sound is decidedly pure in its instrumentation and arrangement.  While Chavis’ band does include guitar and bass, the band’s musical arrangements do not make them the key instruments.  Rather they are centered more on the accordion and washboard.  In the same vein, the arrangements in question much purer than those of the more modern zydeco sound.  The funk and rock elements that are so prevalent in today’s zydeco are nowhere to be found in the older music made so famous by Chavis and his counterparts.  Instead it is more of the creole-rooted sound.  Jocque’s sound on the other hand exhibits more of those funk and rock (I.E. more modern) influences.  It tends to make the guitars and drums more the stars of the music than the accordion and washboard.  Regardless of audiences’ thoughts on both styles the presentation of both styles adds even more to that introduction of zydeco’s history.  It deepens even more the discussion on the changes through which the genre has gone over the time since its formation.  Not only that, but the performances themselves can be considered important because of their archival value.  They are pieces of musical history that had otherwise laid unseen for decades.  If not for the footage, those discussions on zydeco’s evolution might not have even happened.  Keeping this in mind, the performances that are featured over the course of this program prove to be indeed important in their own right to the overall presentation of The Kingdom of Zydeco.  Even with their importance in mind, they still are not the last of the program’s most notable elements.  The material that has been included in the recording as bonus material is just as important to the program as the program’s “story” and its featured performances.

Both the “story” at the center of Kingdom of Zydeco and its featured performances are important in their own right to the program’s overall presentation.  That is because of the historical value that they present.  While both elements are undeniably important to the documentary, they are not its only important elements.  The material that has been included this time as bonus material is just important to the program as its story and performances.  The “Introduction To The Kingdom with Robert Mugge” is the most important of the program’s bonuses.  It only runs ten minutes. But in the course of that time viewers are presented with quite a bit of important information about the program.  Viewers learn how the competition between Jocque and Chavis ended up at a masonic temple (hint: the suggestion came from the performers).  Viewers also learn that the very creation of this program stemmed from other documentaries that Mugge had worked on.  The documentaries in question centered on Alligator Records and another label.  And just as notable is Mugge’s own discussion on what held up the original release of Kingdom of Zydeco.  That discussion is truly interesting.  These are just a few of the topics covered over the course of the program’s bonus “Introduction.”  There is far more for audiences to take in over the short course of its ten-minute run time.  The very amount of information, and clarity in its delivery over that time makes this feature the most important of the program’s bonuses.  “Iguanas in the House” is another of the program’s bonus features.  It presents a full performance by a zydeco group called The Iguanas spliced with interviews with the band’s members.  The band’s members discuss how they came to join the band, their love for zydeco and more in their interviews.  It runs twenty-seven minutes.  And just as with the program’s bonus “introduction” it will keep viewers just as entertained and engaged.  “A Royal Title” is the last of the program’s bonus features.  This short three-minute segment focuses on the late great Boozoo Chavis and features an interview with Chavis that was lifted from the program’s main feature.  It’s short.  But it exhibits Chavis’ deep love and respect for zydeco and will in turn have audiences once again discussing who is the real king of zydeco.  No matter one’s opinion on this topic, viewers will all agree that its inclusion in the program, that of the program’s “introduction,” and bonus performance by The Iguanas all come together to prove once and for all why this program’s bonus material is so important to its overall presentation.  And the bonus material, together with the program’s central “story” and performances joins together to make the program in whole one that—together with Zydeco Crossroads—every music lover and zydeco fan alike should experience.  It proves just as much to be in whole one of 2016’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.

The Kingdom of Zydeco is one of 2016’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.  It is also a program that should be experienced at least once by music lovers and fans of zydeco at least once.  That is especially the case when it is put alongside Mugge’s latest documentary Zydeco Crossroads.  This is thanks in part to the history presented in its central “story” of sorts and the performances that come along with that story.  The material that is included with the program as bonus material adds its own amount of interest to the program.  Each element is important to the program in its own right.  Altogether they make the Kingdom of Zydeco a program that is just as valuable in the classroom as the living room.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via MVD Visual’s online store at http://mvdb2b.com/s/TheKingdomOfZydeco/MVD7500D.  More information on this and other titles from MVD Visual is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.mvdvisual.com

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

 

 

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.