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Calle 54

Price: $19.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Gato Barbieri, Cachao, Michel Camilo, Chano Dominguez, Paquito D'Rivera
  • Directors: Fernando Trueba
  • Producers: Fabienne Servan Schreiber, Cristina Huete
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 6, 2012
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005OSLN
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,460 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Calle 54" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Calle 54: Side B: documentary on the history of Latin jazz (1 hr.)
  • Musician biographies and discographies

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Acclaimed as one of the very best motion pictures ever made about music, the vibrant Calle 54 offers an incredible behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lives of Grammy Award winner Tito Puente and some of the greatest Latin Jazz artists of our time! Whether it's created in hot backstreet clubs or recording studios from Miami to Havana, the Bronx to Andalusia, the pulsating sounds of Latin Jazz capture the heart and soul of an entire culture! Showcased in a series of extraordinary performances, Latin legends use their immense musical talents to weave an innovative tapestry of sound, style an rhythm that becomes a pasisonate celebration of life! From the director of Academy Award-winning Belle Epoch (Best Foreign Language Film, 1993)- featured artists include the late "godfather of Latin music" Tito Puente, barefoot Brazilian pianist Eliane Elias, Argentinean tenor sax great Gato Barbieri, Paquito D'Rivera and amny more you don't want to miss!

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In Calle 54, Madrid-based filmmaker Fernando Trueba explores the wide and wonderful world of Latin jazz: a hybrid genre that fuses the clave, samba, flamenco, merengue, and other rhythms from Africa, the Iberian peninsula, and the Americas. The film's Spanish title takes its name from Sony Music Studios located on 54th Street in Manhattan, where a who's who of musicians were filmed and recorded. They range from Brazilian bombshell keyboardist Eliane Elias and enigmatic Argentine tenor saxophonist Gato Barbieri, to the fiery rumba group Puntilla y Nueva Generacion. The music and musicians of Cuba and Puerto Rico dominate this documentary, and the most touching scene is the emotional father-and-son reunion of Cuban pianists Bebo and Chucho Valdés, who were separated by Fidel Castro's revolution. Sadly, the film features the last onscreen appearances by the late composer-arranger Chico O'Farrill and the legendary timbales master Tito Puente. Simply put, Calle 54 is a documentary that dances. --Eugene Holley Jr.

Customer Reviews

History, passion and incredible music throughout.
Michael Boucher
This is easily the best music movie I have EVER seen.
Mike Miller
Great Latin Jazz Fantastic production for music fans.
carlos medina

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By J. Book on December 6, 2001
Format: DVD
If you are a fan of Latin jazz, or jazz music in general, you're going to have to make this a mandatory DVD to add to your collection. It is not so much a documentary as it is a showcase for the talent and creativity among Latin jazz musicians. The "documentary" portions are limited to quick glimpses of various musicians talking about their music, what it means to them, or why certain places offer so much inspiration.
But then we get to see the music, full-length performances that are beautifully shot and edited. If you enjoy the overall look of the performances on the "Sessions At West 54th" show, you will enjoy this as each of the liver performances were done in the same NYC studio.
There is so much great music to absorb, from Gato Barbieri's big band, to the late Tito Puente showing us why he was always a showmen right up until the end. Chucho Valdes goes to Cuba and talks about his father raising him with the music as a child. Later on, we see his father Bebo perform with a longtime friend. We then see a meeting between Bebo and Chucho, who haven't seen each other in years. When the perform together, you can see a father who loves his son so much, and a son who is very thankful for what his father has given to him. Eliane Elias is here with her trio, but sadly we don't get to hear her sing (or speak for that matter).
The best section of this DVD is where legendary Cuban conga player Patato plays with a group of musicians in front of two dancers, who proceed to tease each other with the music and their interpretive dance. You can sense the tension in the air through the dance, but in time they eventually get what they both want from each other, and everyone is happy.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Tom Sanders on November 21, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What a great disc! The visual quality is as good as any DVD out there, the sound seems even better than the sound track CD, and behind it all is the music. What wonderful music it is, full of artists that are legendary and a few I had not heard of. There are such gems to discover in this film, from the stunning flute solos of Dave Valentin to the beautifully understated piano of Elaine Elias to the poetic and magical scenes featuring Bebo Valdes. The last scene with both Chuchu and Bebo Valdes rises to such a poetic level that it brought tears to my eyes as I watched it. This is must-see viewing (ans listening), not only for lovers of Latin Jazz, but for anyone who loves Jazz in any way!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Caponsacchi HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 19, 2003
Format: DVD
At the insistence of a friend, I began watching this movie, thinking I'd sample a little bit here and there (Afro-Cuban music, Salsa, etc. can be loud and repetitious). Forget it. The film is absolutely addictive and intoxicating, building to the kind of musical climax normally associated with a Bach B Minor Mass or a Verdi Requiem or a Strauss Domestic Symphony.
Indeed, the film has a "script" along with cinematic-editing virtuosity, but the testimony to the power of both is that from the viewer's perspective the music itself soon becomes the only narrative. I've seen all of the great "jazz" films--Jazz on a Summer's Day, Bird, Round Midnight--and none comes close to offering the rich experience of this film. But this is far more than a unique film about jazz, or Latin jazz, or Latin music. I can't imagine even the most devoted follower of the classical music scene not being captivated by its sounds and images. In fact, if the film has a "star," it's the Steinway piano, which has never been more beautifully filmed and recorded (be sure to view the DVD with a good audio system, minus a sub-woofer). The instrument becomes an Excalibur whose power comes alive only in the most privileged hands (in this case, about 6 different pairs).
Sadly, a film like this would not be made by an American, an irony it shares with Bernard Tavernier's poignant "Round Midnight." No matter. It's an event to be cherished.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Manny Hernandez HALL OF FAME on October 12, 2004
Format: DVD
From the opening remark by Trueba, you are hooked: "A principio de los ochenta, un amigo me regalo un disco que complico mi vida. Me volvi un adicto al jazz latino." (At the beginning of the eighties, a friend gave me an album that complicated my life. I became addicted to Latin Jazz.)

Having read his introductory words, you may understand why the comparison between Fernando Trueba's "Calle 54" and Wim Wenders' "Buena Vista Social Club" is not only unfit but also unfair to both movies. While "Buena Vista..." focuses on a handful of Cuban legends, many of whom continued to make great classic Latin music in the island in spite of the passing of time, "Calle 54" introduces the viewer to how Latin music was embraced and transformed by a number of musical geniuses across the continent to give shape to what would later be known as Latin Jazz.

Well known Paquito D'Rivera, Tito Puente, Bebo (and Chucho) Valdez, along with Gato Barbieri and many others showcase their brilliance and sense of innate connection with the genre's roots, while keeping an exquisite balance with the essence of jazz: improvisation. D'Rivera throws in a Venezuelan "cuatro" (a small form of a four-string guitar) into a "sabrosa" mix of metals and latin percussion. A nostalgic Baribieri comes across as a Miles Davis playing sax to latin rhythms. Puente introduces us to the fathers of Latin Jazz through the murals in his restaurant, while Valdez puts his heart into it all with his impeccable piano performance. Then again, some more improv, a fusion of Flamenco and Jazz -the miracle (as Trueba puts it) that Chano Dominguez accomplishes, blending Thelonius Monk and Camaron de la Isla. Eliane Elias hypnotyzing the listener with her beauty and her exquisite blend of bossa and jazz...
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