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Norman Granz Presents: Duke - The Last Jam Session

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

This new two-disc set, the latest addition to the Norman Granz collection, brings together two of the greatest names in jazz: Duke Ellington & Ella Fitzgerald. The first disc sees Duke performing live in the South of France with Ella Fitzgerald as his special guest and the second disc contains the previously unseen footage of Duke Ellington in one of his last ever live performances jamming with Joe Pass, Ray Brown and Louie Bellson.

TRACK LISTING

DISC ONE: Duke Ellington At The Côte d'Azur with Ella Fitzgerald & Joan Miró 1) The Opener 2) Such Sweet Thunder 3) Medley: Black And Tan Fantasy/Creole Love Call/The Mooche 4) Kinda Dukish 5) The Shepherd 6) The Old Circus Train Turn-Around Blues 7) La Plus Belle Africaine 8) Satin Doll 9) Something To Live For 10) Jazz Samba 11) Things Ain't What They Used To Be

DISC TWO: Duke: The Last Jam Session 1) The Brotherhood 2) Just Squeeze Me 3) Carnegie Blues 4) The Hawk Talks 5) Prelude To A Kiss 6) Cotton Tail 7) Everything But You 8) Love You Madly 9) Fragmented Suite For Piano & Bass

Bonus Features

Disc One: Nat Hentoff presents Duke & Ella / Photo Gallery / Portraits by David Stone Martin.

Disc Two: The last ever interview with bass player Ray Brown.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Louis Bellson, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Ray Brown, Joan Mir
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Eagle Vision
  • DVD Release Date: March 18, 2008
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0013K2Z9K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,992 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The description for this two disc DVD set says "the latest addition to the Norman Granz collection, brings together two of the greatest names in jazz: Duke Ellington & Ella Fitzgerald." However they do not appear together and Ella Fitzgerald only sings three songs on the entire collection (Satin Doll, Something To Live For and Jazz Samba). I bought the DVD set thinking that Ella is featured on most, if not all, of the songs on the first disc so I was initially disappointed. However Duke Ellington does put on a good performance with his orchestra on the first disc. Then when Ella finally does come on, she also puts on a good performance with her own pianist, bassist and drummer backing her along with the rest of Ellington's orchestra.

The second disc features Duke Ellington on piano with Ray Brown on bass, Joe Pass on guitar and Louis Bellson on drums working on and recording some of the tunes that ended up being on the album "Duke's Big 4". You get an insight into how Duke arranges tunes on the spot. Each player is a master of their instruments and you get lots of close up shots of them playing. I, being a bass player, especially liked the many close ups of Ray Brown playing his bass. The booklet states that the cameras were called in at the last minute and they obviously did not plan much in advance. There are many shots of the backside of Norman Granz the producer when he walks in front of the camera to talk to Duke. Also the cameras tend to focus much of the time on Duke so there are times for example when Ray Brown is taking an incredible solo and the camera moves during the solo from Ray to show Duke just comping on his piano. I would prefer the camera stay on whoever is soloing throughout the entire solo. Still, it's great to see these musicians working out the songs on this session.

I would rate this DVD collection three and a half stars due to the misleading description but since I am limited to whole stars, I gave it four.
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I was so excited to discover this DVD, and I had high hopes that it would be of good quality. Unfortunately I cannot recommend this DVD. While it's great to hear Duke jamming with Ray Brown, the camera work is gut-wrenchingly terrible, and most of the time Norman Granz is standing in front of the camera. Seriously. The other disc features some goofy camera work as well as some good performances; Ella is wonderful as always, but she and Duke aren't actually performing together (Jimmy Jones is at the piano). If you're looking for a good Duke Ellington DVD, I highly recommend "The Intimate Duke Ellington" instead.
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Both the Duke and Ella were wonderful in this film. The Duke and his band/orchestra are true professionals and superb musicians. Ella was always very,very watchable and extremely talented. We need more entertainers with their class!
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Über Duke's Bigband zu sprechen ist wie Wasser in den Mississippi zu tragen. Mit so vielen Solisten! Eine Überraschung ist sicher Ella, die sich wunderbar in die Band integriert. Schade, dass sie nich mehr mit Duke zusammen spielte. Herrlich, was Duke im zweiten Teil in einem kleinen Kreis mit den grossen Künstlern Joe Pass, Ray Brown und Louie Bellson in einer ungezwungenen Atmosphäre vor geladenen Gästen vollbringt!!! Die zwei DVDs sind zu einem supergünstigen Preis erhältlich.
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Uplifting and entertaining The classy monologues for introductions by the Duke alone are worth the price.
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