September 4, 2011
I got this superb "Made for TV" Legends Of Jazz Showcase compilation at the end of last year. In my busy days of ripping CDs, this one got misplaced somewhere within the boxes and boxes of my collection and never surfaced again, until recently. It has been enjoying a second lease of life since.
An accomplished Jazz pianist himself, Ramsey Lewis convinced LRS Media to present "America's Best Cultural Export" of the 50's and 60's again to modern day TV audiences in stunning hi-rez AV quality. The result of the session recordings are witnessed on this DVD/CD(a more costly Blu-ray set is also available) set, for us non-US citizens to appreciate.
For something that cost a cool RM$60.00 each set, the entertainment and musical value is excellent. The Jazz performances by some of the most revered legends like Monty Alexander, Dave Brubeck and Chick Corea are of the highest standards and the AV recording quality is crystal clear. The recording venue is also acoustically treated, which the eagle eyed viewer amongst us would've noticed. All sub genres of Jazz are covered here, from mainstream to Scat, Blues, Fusion, Mumbles and even Bossa, each is a classy performance in their own right.
My favorite tracks include the following, The Panther(for tight, dynamic bass guitar performance), performed by Marcus Miller and Lee Ritenour. Followed by My Funny Valentine(a dark, reflective and moody horn performance), by Chris Botti, then the track called 12 Year Old Boy(a Blues/Rock/Jazz fusion tune), by Keb'Mo and Robert Cray. A highly polished rendition of the ever green, They Can't Take That Away From Me(saccharin sweet vocal duet), by Jane Monheit and John Pizzarelli.The session are hosted by Ramsey Lewis himself.
The DVD has great picture quality too. However, I am sure the Blu-ray version is even better too. The best thing is, one does not really need to be an absolute Jazz fan to appreciate the performances. In fact, I am sure many will even start to further explore Jazz music after this DVD/CD set. This set is a must buy for all AV and music connoisseurs.