Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Duke Ellington - Live at the Tivoli Gardens|
Actors: Duke Ellington, Cootie Williams, Paul Gonsalves
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Call him the Duke of Denmark, as this is the second superb Ellington performance recorded in that country to be released in 2003 alone. It's also an appropriate follow-up to The Intimate Duke Ellington; whereas the latter ... more »
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Desert Island Treasure
Ronald K. Goodenow | Northboro, MA USA | 02/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This dvd from 1971 has it all. Beautiful video and sound (the advantages of European television technologies from that era are evident), great big band jazz. But much more. The Danish crew that filmed this set of two concerts (note, there is some repetition, but worry not, there is plenty to go around and no Duke orchestra ever did it the same each time) captures the intimacy and excitement not only of the concert itself, but of the magnificent Duke and his band in their final years. I saw them a year or so earlier at UC Berkeley, where Duke was given an honorary doctorate, and for years have dreamed of the moment when somebody, somewhere, would release a video of it, or a similar event. This is as close as it gets. It's all here. The spotlight on soloists (including appearances as regular band members by Cootie Willians and Ben Webster, both of whom had many compositions written just for them, and were long-departed from the band) for whom Duke composed many of his great pieces, and the fabulous style and humor Duke brought to everything. More than that, much of the video is filmed from directly behind Duke, so you not only get an intimate view of the master, but of the band as he saw it. What you'll see is a hard working group, fascinating individual expression and the improvisation and powerful ensemble work that Duke got from his bands. There is an added meaning because the great Johnny Hodges had recently died and within three or four years Duke, Paul Gonsalves and other stalwarts would be tooting for the angels.Duke Ellington is perhaps the greatest composer produced by America. To say he is in all his glory here in a beautiful concert film made over 30 years ago is a gross understatement that would earn a famous "aaaah, I love you madly" from him. I hope the Image Entertainment team that brought us this magnificent testimony finds us more such treasures. Find a Stan Kenton concert and I'm off to my desert isle with a smile on my face...."
"Love You Madly!"
The Sanity Inspector | USA | 01/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This dvd is a musical feast. The recording is bottom-heavy and out of balance. This especially hurts on "Quadruped", when the four saxophones cannot be heard clearly. But the audio is in nowhere as bad a shape as, say, the Andy Williams Christmas specials from around the same time--and those were featured on PBS in recent years. The video quality is good--if you're old enough to remember what TV looked like in the early Seventies. It may not be as sharp as some digital show produced for your 60" plasma TV, but let's not get greedy, okay?
The show itself features Ellington with his re-assembled big band, and some young jazz singers. Most all the brass gets to have a turn in the spotlight. There's even a flute featured in one song. A bombastic drum solo reminds us that this is the era of classic rock.
Ben Webster has the stage mannerism of a deaf man--glancing around, paying no mind to Ellington's stage patter, keeping an impassive face. Nothing wrong with what comes out of his horn, though.
A neat contrast in styles for jazz fans occurs on one ballad, featuring first Paul Gonsalves. Gonsalves really milks it, getting his shoulders into his performance, wringing all the soul out of that lovely melody. Ben Webster plays the song next for an encore. His performance is more reserved and cool, but one's left thinking that maybe he may have dug the deepest after all. The only comparable contrast I can think of is Flip Phillips and Charlie Parker going head-to-head on one of the Jazz At The Philharmonic cds.
Ellington looks dapper in a crisp suit, his only concession to the times--the early Seventies--being a ridiculous little mullet curling over his collar. He's got the crowd in the palm of his hand throughout. His stage patter is a little prolix, mixing scat & hepcat anachronisms with some current events observations. He seems a little stiff moving around the stage, but his piano playing is astounding; the dvd box copy kids you not.
Ellington's piano playing is wonderful, running through a lifetime worth of moods and styles. One moment his playing is all starlight and bouquets, then some toe-tappin' swing, and then abstract jazz (though he didn't like to call his music that) of almost Monkish obliqueness. But he never forgets and never fails to show the audience a good time. I wonder if the rapt Danish crowd in the theater knew how good they had it. It certainly must have been very different from the audiences Duke played for in the Twenties.
The whole show is a wonderful treasure, and I hope to explore more of this series at Tivoli.
For die hard fans only.
A. Smith | New Jersey | 01/20/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have more than ten Ellington DVDs and this is my least favorite. This is not the best dvd to hear Ellington's Band. The fault mostly is with the sound crew who miked the band and mixed the show so poorly. The Bassist is hard to hear, and throughout most of the show, the drummer's ride cymbal is the most prominent sound you hear. Even over the rest of the drums. The brass sections are out of balance. Also, when most of the soloists begin playing, their mics were turned off for several seconds until the sound crew figured it out. This also happened when Duke was speaking. Still it is good to see the guys performing in the later years of the band. But if you a looking for a DVD to see, hear and learn about Ellington, A Duke Named Ellington, is a much better place to start."
This is good
rayjazz | las vegas, NV | 06/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is 1971, it's in color, it has celebrity, Ben
Webster, what more do you want? You can never go back
in time, this is, as close as it can get. You need this
one to see a great band leader and his musicians at work.
If you want to see fantastic imagery, with glitz, artsy
video, state of the art sound, go get a DVD of some
modern day, mediocre to talentless pop star."