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Elvis Sinatra Mostly Live!
Collector's Edition, Special Edition, DVD, Director's Cut
What we have here is an elaborate and no doubt expensive (for him, if not for us) vanity project courtesy of George Leonard, a dry-cleaning proprietor from Providence, Rhode Island. As the documentary preceding the actual show explains, Leonard, a singer-songwriter and instrumentalist (violin and guitar), built a state-of-the-art studio at his home, where he records and films a group of musicians playing his original songs. He then travels to a nightclub in New York, where he appears onstage with the "virtual band" projected on a screen next to him. The music (which is the product of Leonard's self-described "total dysfunction" and includes titles like "Where Have I Been All My Life" and "Little Miss Fortune") is squarely in the swingin', kinda jazzy lounge mode. Leonard, an average vocalist whose style and demeanor at times suggest a cross between Tiny Tim and Dan Hicks, displays some wit and a flair for melody, but Cole Porter needn't worry. Too many songs are like Saturday Night Live skits, with clever initial ideas that peter out before really going anywhere.
But the DVD is fun: the selectable menu allows users to choose various angles from which to view the show, focusing on either Leonard or the band, or both; the audio is good (either 5.1 AC-3 Dolby Digital or the stereo mixdown); and the two sets of material can be programmed in any order, including random. There's even a karaoke mode (with subtitles, of course) for those who want to sing along with "I Think I'll Kick Your Dog" and other Elvis Sinatra, um, classics. --Sam Graham
From the Back Cover
Elvis Sinatra (Mostly) Live showcases the unique talents of singer/songwriter/performer George Leonard, combining the best elements of vintage Las Vegas pop and straight-ahead jazz in a multimedia show featuring world-class musicians and tomorrow's technology. There are four ways to watch the show:
1. If you're in couch-potato mode, just choose Play the Whole Show, sit back, and let the evening roll.
2. If you're a little more adventurous, let the random player set the order.
3. If you're feeling interactive, create your own set from the song list.
4. If you're hyperactive, go directly to Karaoke mode. We'll give you the Elvis Sinatra band and the lyrics--without George.
If you're new to Elvis Sinatra, you'll probably want to start with Chris Peacock's award-winning documentary, This Is Elvis Sinatra! It'll give you a great introduction to the man and his music.
- Seventeen songs recorded and video'd at Detour, the famous East Village jazz bar
- The award-winning documentary This Is Elvis Sinatra! by Chris Peacock
- Multi-angle playback for the songs
- Karaoke mode
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Elvis Sinatra's orchestra which appears on digital tape in the nightclub act is in full view on the DVD and you get to select different camera angles. Nice touch! I'm still exploring other features like the French lyrics. (I understand the French love Elvis Sinatra and the nightclub is usually full of them.)