The Queen of Spiritual Music (Gospel)
Nikica Gilic | Zagreb, Croatia | 11/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For us who are not experts in gospel Mahalia is probably the first and most important name; THE face to put to the genre...
Well, coming basically from the perspective of a jazz fan, I would like to say this music is absolutely marvellous; Mahalia is a radiant, fascinating perfomer, strongly voiced, very rhythmical and emotional, without affectation and even a hint of the pompousness...
This series of well directed televised performances (director: Larry Peerce), shot in a sparsely and tastily decorated studio is comparable to Jackson's performance in Douglas Sirk's "Imitation of life" (the great funeral scene!) and the performance in Stern's "Jazz on a Summer's Day" documentary (where she accepts the applause like a shy girl, looking as sincere as anyone ever looked on any stage anywhere...).
The picture is nice black and white (as opposed to the abovementioned performances) and they do the star the credit she deserves.
Until the 12th number ("My Lord and I") You get only a glimpse of her musicians, particularly on faster numbers ("Tell it, Sing it, Shout it"; "My Lord and I"...), and that's quite appropriate - Shelly Manne (dm), Red Mitchell (b), Barney Kessel (g), Louise Weawer (p) and Edward C. Robinson (o) are not there to have a jam session; they are a tool for helping one of the greatest instruments of the 20th century - Mahalia's voice - shine even brighter.
BTW; the same television show is available on slightly cheaper dvd I Believe . But that one is from the company that put on the market some shodilly edited performances of the giants of jazz,
so I payed few bucks more (actually, I payed some 25 Kunas more; I bought this in Zagreb - they imported both DVDs).
Get it in any form if you like gospel, Mahalia or good music in general. Although I respect her immensely for not accepting offers to sing pop, soul or jazz (she sang only spiritual music), I'm really sorry she didn't try herself in jazz now and then.
There are no additional materials on this DVD made in Germany. The Jackson show (all music, no talking) lasts a bit over 50 minutes. The liner notes are by Neil Kellas."