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Nina Simone - Live at Ronnie Scott's (1985)

Paul Robinson , Nina Simone , Steve Cleary , Rob Lemkin  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Robinson, Nina Simone
  • Directors: Steve Cleary, Rob Lemkin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Quantum Leap
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2003
  • Run Time: 57 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000092Q6X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,981 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • Songs: God God God, If You Knew, Mr. Smith, Fodder in Her Wings, Be My Husband, I Loves You Porgy, The Other Woman, Mississippi Goddam/Moon Over Alabama Medley, For a While, See-Line Woman, I Just Sing to Know I'm Alive, My Baby Just Cares for Me

Editorial Reviews

There's some deep soul in effect here-–as there nearly always was when Nina Simone, who died at age 70 in '03, got anywhere near a piano and a microphone. The fiercely individual, genre-defying performer, filmed in a 1985 performance at Ronnie Scott's in London, is accompanied by drummer Paul Robinson for a set that includes some of her better-known material, like the Gershwins' "I Loves You Porgy" and "Mississippi Goddam," a product of Simone's racially and politically charged '60s period. Elsewhere, she sings a tune ("Fodder in Her Wings") that could be an ancient British folk song, while "God, God, God" and "Be My Husband" are rhythmically driving, almost chant-like meditations. The film is rather grainy and not especially imaginatively directed, but little matter; every note is imbued with conviction and intelligence, and there is absolutely nothing trivial going on here. (Interview segments connect the songs, but there's no bonus material.) --Sam Graham

Product Description

This DVD features Nina Simone (vocals, piano) delivering an intense emotional performance at the legendary Ronnie Scott's in Soho, London on November 17, 1985. Simone is considered to be one of the most diverse singers of the 20th century, recording mate

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intimate, beautiful and an absolute joy to watch July 5, 2003
There was a moment at the beginning of this dvd when I thought, "Oh no, this might [be bad]." Having been a huge Nina Simone fan for so long I've been waiting for this dvd for a long time, so you can imagine my excitement when I finally sat down to watch it. The picture and sound quality of the dvd were so bad though I had my doubts, but, when Nina started singing I knew that it would all be alright. In fact, after a while I didn't even mind the way it looked because I allowed myself to imagine that I was actually there at Ronnie Scott's that night watching and listening to this amazing woman perform. Of course I was way too young back then to appreciate or even be allowed there but that's beside the point, this is my review and I'm allowed to be anachronistic if I choose :)
There is a lot to love about this dvd. Nina's performance is one of if not the most intimate performance I have ever watched and I know it's hard to understand that if you're not there in person but somehow she managed to transcend even the barriers of a television set. Listen to the way she beautifully performs her "two love songs" as she calls them, "If You Knew" and "Mr. Smith" and then effortlessly move from playing the harpsicord (on a keyboard) to the piano on "Fodder In Her Wings". Other standouts include her wonderful rendition of "I Loves You Porgy" and "The Other Woman". Both showing such vulnerability and sadness you wonder how anyone cannot possibly love her??? Her two signature songs, "Mississippi Goddam" and "My Baby Just Cares For Me" are absolutely wonderful as is the entire concert. "Mississippi Goddam" this time blended with "Alabama Song" from Brecht's "Mahagonny". Brilliant! My absolute favourite though is "For A While".
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Suprise June 2, 2003
By A Customer
I bought this not knowing what to expect. But wow, what a surprise. It is great if you like live performances, it very much has that feel. Be warned however that the sound quality and video quality are not like what you'd expect today...remember this recording is almost 20 yars old. What you will get is a very hard driving and emotional performance with some facinating interviews thrown in. Also, it's only about an hour long with out any special features.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can you say Diva? June 8, 2003
I didn't know that much about Nina Simone. Only knew she was an acclaimed singer. Just never took the time to sit down with her music and really "listen". Then finally I sat down with Pastel Blues/Let it all Out. Honestly the first thing I thought was, "IS THIS A MAN OR A WOMAN SINGING?". Her voice threw me. Hard. I put the cd away.
Sadly, it wasn't until her passing this year that I started to read more about her and start listening again. She was truly gifted as a pianist, lyricist and her vocal approach is unique to all the world. And that voice. Its quite haunting. This live performance displays her rawness, realness and the intensity of her delivery in the timeless and prolific lyrics/messages of her music. "Mississippi Goddamn" is a powerful testament to a universal truth in its ugliest state. Via the snippets of interviews spliced between numbers, Nina expounds on music and personal experiences. The woman was tough and it showed in her words, body language and again, the live performance. When she snaps about it being HOT in the club (she is practically drenched with perspiration), you feel it with her. I especially enjoyed the rhythmic breakdown in "Be My Husband" and the interplay with her drummer adds to the energy of the set. Her audience provides the chorus on "See-Line Woman" and its fun to watch.
Quality of visual is low, with dim lighting and the shots a bit fuzzy, but as mentioned earlier, this is a VINTAGE performance. I recommend Live at Ronnie Scott's to anyone interested in learning about this strong woman who made an unforgettable and incomparable mark in the music world. CLB.
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