Legends of Jazz: Showcase
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The critically-acclaimed Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis - the first weekly television series devoted to jazz in more than 40 years - debuted nationally on PBS stations in April 2006. Now presented on the superior new Blu-ray Disc format, Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis "Showcase" is an all-star collection of 13 riveting live performances from the series by some of the biggest stars in jazz. Track Listings: Take Five
-- All Jarreau & Kurt Elling My Funny Valentine
-- Chris Botti The Panther
-- Marcus Miller, George Duke, Lee Ritenour Senor Blues
-- David Sanborn & Phil Woods Armando's Rhumba
-- Chick Corea 12 Year Old Boy
-- Robert Cray & Keb' Mo' Killer Joe
-- Benny Golson The Island
-- Ivan Lins Mumbles
-- Clark Terry They Can't Take That Away From Me
-- Jane Monheit & John Pizzarelli Obsession
-- Dave Valentin Take The 'A' Train
-- Dave Brubeck & Bill Taylor Dear Lord
-- Ramsey Lewis
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This album is a cherry-picked sampler of songs from other "Legends of Jazz" albums. As such, any clunkers have already been deleted. The CD contains the same songs as the included DVD. This music is worth another listen. Five Amazon stars. The songs, and performers, are as follows:
1.) Take Five (Legends of Jazz "The Jazz Singers), by Al Jarreau, Vocals; Kurt Elling, Vocals; Laurence Hobgood, Piano; Robert Amster, Bass; Ernie Adams, Drums. 2.) My Funny Valentine (Legends of Jazz "The Golden Horns"), by Chris Botti, Trumpet; Willie Pickens, Piano; Larry Gray, Bass; Leon Joyce Jr., Drums. 3.) The Panther (Legends of Jazz "Contemporary Jazz"), by Marcus Miller, Bass; George Duke, Keyboards; Lee Ritenour, Guitar; Vinnie Colaiuta, Drums. 4.) Senor Blues (Legends of Jazz "The Altos"), by David Sandborn, Alto Saxophone; Phil Woods, Alto Saxophone; Willie Pickens, Piano; Larry Gray, Bass; Leon Joyce Jr., Drums. 5.) Armando's Rhumba (Legends of Jazz "NEA Jazz Masters 2006"), Chick Corea, Piano. 6.) 12 Year Old Boy (Legends of Jazz "Roots: The Blues"), by Robert Cray, Vocals/Guitar; Keb' Mo', Vocals/Guitar; Jim Pugh, Keyboard; Karl Sevareid, Bass; Kevin Hayes, Drums. 7.) Killer Joe (Legends of Jazz "The Tenors"), by Benny Golson, Tenor Saxophone; Willie Pickens, Piano; Larry Gray, Bass; Leon Joyce Jr., Drums. 8.) The Island (Legends of Jazz "Brazilian Jazz"), by Ivan Lins, Vocals/Piano; Abraham Lopez Laboriel, Bass; Michael Shapiro, Drums. 9.) Mumbles (Legends of Jazz "The Golden Horns") by Clark Terry, Vocals/Trumpet; Willie Pickens, Piano; Larry Gray, Bass; Leon Joyce Jr., Drums. 10.) They Can't Take That Away From Me (Legends of Jazz "American Songbook"), by Jane Monheit, Vocals; John Pizzarelli, Vocals/Guitar; Micheal Kanan, Piano; Martin Pizzarelli, Bass; Rick Montalbano, Drums; Orlando LeFleming, Guitar. 11.) Obsession (Legends of Jazz "Latin Jazz"), by Dave Valentin, Flute; Bill O'Connell, Piano; Joe Santiago, Bass; Robby Ameen, Drums; Richard Flores, Conga Drums. 12.) Take The 'A' Train (Legends of Jazz "The Piano Masters"), by Dave Brubeck, Piano; Billy Taylor, Piano; Randy Jones, Drums; Michael Moore, Bass. 13.) Dear Lord (Legends of Jazz "NEA Jazz Masters 2006"), by Ramsey Lewis, Piano.
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© & (P) 2006 LRSmedia LLC; Distributed by WEA Corporation; email: experience legendary performances™@www.legendsofjazz.net; web: legendsofjazz.net.
What truly makes this collection compelling is the well-balanced list of performances. There are artists new and old, well-known and not so well-known, from a surprisingly varied pool of jazz sub-genres: fusion, bebop, swing, latin, and bossa. There is even a blues performance thrown in. The performances themselves are mostly very good, with the occasional eye-opening one mixed in such as Marcus Miller's Panther.
The production value of the disc is fantastic too. I would've loved this even on VHS because it is ultimately about the music; but there is something to be said about the excellent high definition video and sound. This is truly as close as one can get to being there live. The disc is also very well organized. It is easy to switch between sound formats and you can access the performances individually from the main menu too. Even the artist bios are well done. In fact, I found this Blu-ray disc so great that I'm now torn between buying the Legends of Jazz DVD collection or waiting for a Blu-ray release. I will probably buy the DVD set now since the music and the performances are what's important I think.
As far as shortcomings, the only one I found is that the length is on the short side at 55 minutes. Everything else was perfect. If you like jazz, you'll love this disc.