Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers|
Actor: Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers
Director: Gianni Paggi
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Absolutely Vital, Irreplaceable Music
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 01/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This concert date by Blakey, filmed during the summer of 1976 in Umbria, Italy, is visually stunning. The setting is a make-shift stage in the street, nestled among stucco houses in a space so confined as to suggest an intimate night club. The crowd is attentive and receptive, though not especially enthusiastic. Some listeners are simply peering out from open casa windows. Sartorially, this edition of the Messengers fits in particularly well. They look less like jazz musicians than a band of gypsies or street performers--unkempt, ungroomed urchins dressed as much for slumming as concertizing (what a contrast to the formal Marsalises, who in 5 years would be putting in their time with Blakey).
More importantly, the TDK crew manages to put the viewer right in the center of the ensemble, a privileged position compared to any in attendance that day. The shots are sharp and revealing, the cutting is judicious and completely in synch with the music, camera placement is varied, providing long shots as well as close-ups but never losing primary focus on the music. The audio engineering isn't up to this level, as the ensemble balance occasionally suffers, and the toning down of Blakey's usually dominant percussion seems overdone. Fortunately, the soloists are captured with sterling sonic clarity.
Apart from the quality of the production, a primary reason to own this disc is the music, which I've been unable to find on any audio recording by the Messengers. First is the personnel, largely overlooked and unheralded--but not forgotten by some of us. The veteran Bill Hardman may be the one trumpet player in Blakey's groups (which included Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Marsalis) who rivals another former Messenger star, Clifford Brown. Yet it's becoming ever harder to locate recordings by him. Same with the diminutive but high-powered Dave Schnitter, none of whose four LP's has ever been issued on CD. Notwithstanding some sloppy execution on the ensemble passages, the bigness of his sound and daring, passionate fire of his playing are simply unmatched by any other Blakey tenor player, from Mobley and Golson to Shorter and Branford Marsalis. He showed up out of the blue, traveled with Blakey for five years, then suddenly and mysteriously evaporated.
Finally, there's the challenging, inspiring and utterly original music of Walter Davis Jr., responsible for three compositions on this date: "Backgammon," "Uranus," and "Gipsy Folk Tales." I've been unable to locate a CD with this frontline, and no LP, moreover, includes the three Davis compositions, which are in danger of being lost and forgotten. The music on this DVD refutes the myth that all jazz in the '70's was inferior, electric fusion music and that the Messengers were mere purveyors of mainstream, formulaic "hard bop.""
ART BLAKEY AT HIS BEST.
Clarence M. Bright | Chicago, IL | 03/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen the previous Art Blakey DVD and I have to say that this is the best of lot. Lots of fire, however Bill Hardman the trumpet player seems to be missing his cord changes on a couple of the begining tunes. I guess he was excited."
ENJOY ART BLAKEY'S GREAT DVD!
Soul Bird | 12/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The intimate setting in the center courtyard of an Italian villa is great. You even see villagers hanging out of their courtyard windows. Mysteriously this is the only available DVD with the exceptional players Bill Hardman on trumpet and Dave Schnitter on tenor sax. They only stayed with Art Blakey for a short time and might have been his strongest trumpet and tenor sax players. This is a very enjoyable jazz bop performance."