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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Jazz > Don Grusin - The Hang (DVD-Video + CD)

Don Grusin – The Hang (Jazz/DVD-Video + CD)


Picture: B-     Sound: B     Extras: C-     Concert: B



There’s noting like an all-star get-together to get the music going, and that includes music in the Jazz genre.  Don Grusin has assembled a pretty solid line-up for The Hang, a diverse and effective concert directed by Music Video veteran Randee St. Nicholas.  About two dozen remarkable performers deliver 14 strong numbers, including Patti Austin, Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour, Ernie Watts, and co-producer Don Grusin.  The tracks are:


1)     Let’s Not Talk About It

2)     Makossa Beat

3)     She Could Be Mine

4)     Wait For Me (Patti Austin - lead vocal)

5)     La Dama de la Ciudad (introductory song from El Floridita)

6)     El Floridita

7)     Number 8

8)     Woman

9)     The Chaser

10)  Fresh Air

11)  Catwalk

12)  Road Town

13)  Oo – Whee the Carnival

14)  She Feels Good



I had never heard of many of these artists and will leave it to the viewer and listener to discover them for themselves.  Jazz fans should be particularly happy that such a project even happened, but note this was done independently, showing once again the kind of trouble the record labels are finding themselves in.  Not that Jazz gets the kind of attention it should form the majors, but this is just not something we see every day and the majors seem more and more clueless on how to make something this good happen.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image was recently taped and looks good, with St. Nicholas bringing his years of experience to the program, showing off all the artists to best effect.  The problem is that the DVD case never notes that it is anamorphic or widescreen, which will make it loose sales.  Fans and home theater owners cannot get enough of such material, so hopefully they’ll be able to get that sleeve amended or use some informative stickers.  The sound was recorded very well and the better the playback format, the more detail you get.  The CD offers the usual 44.1kHz/16 Bit PCM 2.0 Stereo which is good, if not stellar, unless you have HDCD decoding.  The CD copy we have does not credit it as such, but our HDCD decoder was set off by the disc.  The DVD-Video offers the choice between detailed Dolby Digital 5.1 AC-3 sound and a strong PCM 48kHz/24 Bit PCM 2.0 Stereo that nudges past the CD as well.  The Dolby is preferred for its relative detail and clarity, but it is too bad Sovereign did not offer DTS or DTS 96/24, because this is very high quality.  A DVD-Audio will also be issued, which we hope to cover, where the MLP sound should turn out to offer the best mix(es) of all.  The few extras include an art map of figures with the names of each performer next to them.  When their figure is clicked onto, you get brief biographical information.  There are also some text notes on the concert itself.  The extras may be light, but this is (again) the kind of material people with home theaters are looking for.


The result, especially with the best playback, is not just a concert, but an experience, something most concerts on home video seem to miss the point of.  This is a new high for St. Nicholas, whose videos for Whitney Houston among others have always been considered the especially good-looking high-class particularly seen in R&B genre clips.  This is one of the year’s pleasant surprises and you can get even more information about it at the website www.sovereignartists.com for full details, though it was down when we recently checked by the end of the first quarter of 2008.  The title is still for sale out there, including a version we never received in the DVD-Audio format.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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