Jack DeJohnette - Drums, Herbie Hancock - Keyboards, Dave Holland - Bass, Pat Metheney - Guitars. For the first time, these four masterful musicians come together to form a jazz group most people would never expect to see ... more »happen. Taking their collaborations around the world, they toured Canada, Europe, Japan, and the United States, performing concerts and festivals to sold out audiences and rave reviews. On June 23, 1990, this extraordinary group performed two concerts at the Mellon Jazz Festival at the Philadelphia Academy of music. Both shows were filmed and have been carefully edited to create a technically flawless video of a truly "once in a lifetime" event. All of the songs were selected with great care, as might be expected from a band of this caliber. Including "Shadow Dance", a Dave Holland original; "Solar", a popular Miles Davis original; "Blue" is an original piece by Jack DeJohnette, and "Cantaloupe Island", the closing number of the program, is a Herbie Hancock original from the 60's. Formatted for DVD 16 x 9.« less
"In June of 1990, drummer Jack Dejohnette, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Dave Holland, and guitarist Pat Metheny, went on tour together to promote Dejohnette's album, Parallel Realities. The two of these shows, which were performed at the Mellon Jazz Festival, were edited to make the very exciting DVD, Dejohnette, Hancock, Holland, Metheny in Concert. Watching the disc, I became very envious of the audience for being able to see four musicians of this caliber play together on one stage. In fact, watching the tremendous amount of skill and creative energy exhibited by the musicians in this DVD is a good reminder of why jazz is such an important school of music. Although the concert does at times stray into musical styles that are not so tasteful, namely smooth jazz, the distinctions seem less important when the music is actually being performed live by these four men.
This wide range of styles is seen in just the first few tunes, if not the first song. The show opens with only Dejohnette on stage performing a very expressive percussion solo. Holland then joins him at which point the two lay into a very dissonant and funky groove. After just a few bars of this, a very excited Herbie Hancock runs out to the stage and attacks his piano only to make the tune all the more dissonant. Finally, a very playful looking Pat Metheny joins his colleges to play the head of the first tune, "Shadow Dance," by Dave Holland. The head speeds up to take on more of a straight-ahead rhythm, but becomes funky again for Metheny's solo, which he plays with his trade-mark guitar synthesizer, while Hancock comps with his own keyboard synthesizer. Hancock takes his solo on the acoustic piano as the piece jumps back into the straight-ahead feel. This first composition is characteristic of the entire video in that Metheny and Hancock take the lead. However, the musical styles change with the next tune.
This tune, "Indigo Dreamscape," is a Dejohnette original from the Parallel Realities" album. For this piece, Hancock switches to play only synthesizers and Holland trades his upright bass for an electric one. They come together with these new tambres to play smooth jazz, which varies stylistically from the very hard edged fusion sound of the first tune. Although I tend to believe that, for the most part, smooth jazz is just a more easily marketable genre of real jazz, I also think that it can be done well if the musicians really put their soul into their work, as is true with all genres. This is achieved by the quartet in "Indigo Dreamscape.". However, on the following tune, "9 Over Reggae", not even the combined brilliance of these four individuals could save the composition from the excessively "cheesy" sound of synthesizers and pop rhythms. Fortunately, this is the only such tune on the DVD.
The rest on the Concert continues to be very eclectic. The quartet covers "Solar," a Miles Davis original which is played essentially as a hard-bop tune with all four taking very long, thoughtful, and exciting solos. Then they slow down considerably to play "Silver Hollow," another Dejohnette original, mostly featuring Metheny on the nylon string guitar. Another Dejohnette composition follows which is appropriately titled "Blue" because of its very bluesy feel, although it is not in a twelve bar format. The video continues to vary in style, thanks in no small part to the unique compositions of all four featured musicians.Basically, what it all comes down to in the end is the fact that all four of the musicians are, very appropriately, jazz legends. All have contributed significantly to modern jazz and all are at the top of their game. The only aspect of this video I would like to see changed is the instrumentation. It is my opinion that Herbie Hancock's talents are wasted on the synthesizer sounds that he chooses. However, while some of the styles played are somewhat dated and commercial, the skill and heart-felt intentions of the musicians comes through brilliantly. The manner in which the DVD was filmed allows this to happen. The camera work is totally free of gimmicks such as excessive pans and video effects which tend to ruin many concert videos. The video simply shows the musicians playing, focusing mostly on the individual who is soloing. Although it may be impossible to accurately recreate the energy of attending a live performance, this DVD comes close."
Glenn Morris | Sydney, NSW Australia | 08/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A thoroughly entertaining DVD of pure jazz featuring powerhouse performances from the incomparable quartet of Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock (it's such a treat to see these two amazing musicians together) Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland. The sound and vision are immaculate and the camera work shows to the full the incredible musicianship on display. I've always preferred Pat's group endeavours but shows like this have me leaning the other way. Pat looks more relaxed and is clearly enjoying himself here compared with the concentration evident in the We Live Here Live in Japan DVD recently released. Highlight is by far the catchy Hancock classic Canteloupe Island with Pat in unusual territory playing funky lead guitar lines. Herbie goes into overdrive here and stages an explosive piano solo that has the other band members nodding their appreciation. All I can say to any jazz enthusiast is to buy this DVD and be dazzled by the truly stellar performances of these exceptional musicians."
Amazing work by four excellent musicians
Carole Berman | Needham, MA USA | 02/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Each of these musical genuises plays off each other's work and creates a unique sound that really rocks. Hancocks piano is, as usual, funky, rhythmic and percussive, not to mention harmonically beautiful. Jack DeJohnette's drumming is outstanding as he shows off his technical abilities as well as his ability to play "out of time" to add tention. Dave Holland is a solid bass player, I only wish they showed off his talent a little more in this video. Pat Metheny's guitar is unmatched. His technical ability is amazing and the long solos gives him a chance to really show his stuff. The highlight of the performance is, by far, Hancock's Cantalope Island. This is the closing piece and it is played better than ever before. The piano into is played with a new funky rhythem that lays down the groove for the rest of the piece. Overall, this is a excellent concert, I wish i was there to see it live."
The Quintessential Jazz Concert DVD
Patrick E. | Mason, OH USA | 11/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The concert starts out with Jack de Johnette coming out on stage and beginning the concert with a drum solo. Jack de Johnette is quite the legend in terms of jazz drumming, and he has been a top name in that area for at least the past twenty years. Along with Billy Cobham and Dave Weckyl, Jack de Johnette is one of the top jazz drummers of today. He can really groove! His solo that begins the concert is flamboyant yet reserved, patterned within what appears to be chaos, and it swings quite well.
After about three minutes of playing, he is joined by Dave Holland on the "upright", or acoustic bass. I don't know much about Dave Holland, but have heard the name before. He performs superb "walking bass" lines on the upright bass, and he and the drummer really form the backbone of the rhythm section here, and they swing quite well together.
Then Herbie Hancock comes out on stage, and gets down to "business" on his grand piano. Herbie Hancock has always been a favorite of mine, from the early days of his pioneer fusion band in the 1970s (the "head hunters"), to his days of fame with the "rockit" band in the 1980s, Herbie Hancock has shown a wide range in his varied career. Here in this concert, he returns to his traditional jazz roots, and plays really excellently.
Then it's Metheny's turn. Pat comes out on stage and picks up his electric guitar, and begins to play as the three back him up. Metheny plays with flamboyance and full of jazz authority and sophistication here. The whole quartet now sounds excellent and they shift from sheer improvisation to a written tune, and Metheny changes guitars, and also the sound of the guitar changes. Pat likes to play this one electric guitar, I think it is called the synclavier guitar, and it sounds like an off-tune trumpet. To some, a guitar should sound like a guitar, but Metheny seems to like this guitar sound, as he uses it quite a lot. I actually like it too, and Pat whales away in up and down jazz riffs that seem to come out of nowhere, sound fantastic, and live up to the complete jazz improvisation that he does best.
The whole concert on DVD is about one hour and forty minutes, and the DVD will cost you about $20. It may seem a little pricey for a concert DVD, but the whole production is great. The sound quality is superb, the camera angles and aspects during the concert are superb. When one of the artists does a solo, you can see and hear him clearly. Also, the concert was recorded in 1990, a full fifteen years ago. Each of these respective musicians is arguably at the height of their abilities here, and it really shows. There are about six tunes that the quartet plays, at least one tune being composed by that respective artist.
One cool thing about jazz is that none of these musicians are in the same `regular' band. But, you'd never know that by this concert. They play so well together, and are so tight in their performance, it's great. They have that wonderful ability that all great musicians have, and jazz musicians in particular, that is great communication. Pat can look at Herbie and they seem to read each other's minds. Some people don't understand jazz, and think it is just chaos. If they only had a chance to see and hear this concert, it all makes sense.
So, all in all, I highly recommend this concert DVD to any lover of jazz music, and in particular to the fans of the respective artists, Metheny, de Johnette, Holland and Hancock.
Oh My! How Disturbing This Is and Worth Every Penny!!!
J. Rich | 05/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All I have to say is those of you who are Pat Metheny fans buy this DVD not just for him, but the first song "Shadow Dnace" by Dave Holland. He absolutely comes out of his "shell," and projects an insane, uncompromising, freak-out....oh and the other musicians are okay...just kidding.
Fantastic DVD with brilliant performances and excellent audio and video quality."