Jazz Jumpers: The Very Next Thing
(2015/On The Bol Records DVD/CD Set)/Beethoven's
Symphony No. 3 ''Eroica''/Bruggen
Das Lied Von Der Erde/Davis
(2015/Opus Arte/Naxos Blu-rays)
C+/C+/B-/C+/C+/B Sound: B-/C+/B/B/C+/B Extras:
C-/C-/C+/C+/C-/C+ Main Programs: B-/C+/B/B/B-/B
for a new set of Jazz and Classical releases you should know about...
Jazz Jumpers: The Very Next Thing
(2015) is a new DVD/CD Set from the independent label On The Bol
Records featuring the Jazz vocal band (led by Nick Russo) delivering
some key classics and doing a pretty decent job of it. Benita
Hershey is the lead singer as they cover the likes of Caravan, Sweet
and a clever variation on When
The Red Red Robin [Comes Bob Bob Bobbin' Along]
among the 17 tracks on the CD. We get six clips on the DVD, but I
wanted more, especially since there was room. Still, this is a
revival band worth looking out for and their energy reminded me of
The Manhattan Transfer, as well as the great cover albums cycle that
started with better releases in the early 1980s like Linda Ronstadt's
so this set is definitely worth your time. Solid musicianship too!
Symphony No. 3 ''Eroica''
(1987) conducted by Frans Bruggen conducting an outfit dubbed
'Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century' is one of two release on this
list that takes an older program recorded on analog videotape and
upscales it for Blu-ray release. This is going to deliver a
better-storage version of the program versus any VHS, Beta, DVD or
12'' LaserDisc edition, but how good is the upgrade is the question.
Like many of these older releases, this one runs only 52 minutes and
is not a bad performance of the piece, even if I would not call it
definitive. However, the sound is still a little distorted and the
video still a bit rough, so unless this is a favorite performance of
the piece you really want, you'll be disappointed.
(2004) is a fine, older HD-recorded concert that brings together two
of the biggest names in Classical Music: Simon Rattle
and Daniel Barenboim with The Berliner Philharmoniker delivering 127
minutes of Brahams in superior style, form and depth (they're grasp
of the classics is definitive every time out) at the Atticus Theater
situated at no less than the bottom of the legendary ancient
Acropolis Stadium in Greece. Greece looks good and this sounds good.
Though the image has not aged as well as it could have, this is one
of the best installments of the Europakonzert series and is
recommended as one of the best ways to introduce yourself to the
(2003) features Conductor Seiji Ozawa
with The Berliner Philharmoniker (second time on this list)
delivering 111 minutes of George Gershwin classics like An
American In Paris,
Up The Band
in a smooth, solid show that captures the quiet grandness of the
composers work and style in a pleasant setting with a good audience.
If you are a fan of Gershwin, you'll probably enjoy the show and the
great musicians who make up the orchestra, but it might be more than
enough or too much for those who do not. I am with the former group
impressed by the classiness of the show and recommend it.
Das Lied Von Der Erde
(1988 aka Song
Of The Earth)
is the other analog-taped performance upscaled for Blu-ray (which
does NOT make it HD, but can look decent like Eagle's SD Blu series
of Rock/Pop releases) has Sir Colin Davis conducting the
Symphonieorchester des Bayerisch Rundfunks with vocal guests Doris
Soffel and Kenneth Riegel runs 74 minutes-long and is a slightly
better upscaling of an older work that is not as seen or performed.
Considering it is Gustav Mahler, that I a bit of a surprise, yet it
is not his greatest work, though it is a decent, solid one. It may
not be of your preference, but it is nice to have a well-rounded
enough version that brings the piece alive with passion and honesty.
Definitely worth a look.
we have Rossini:
Il Signor Bruschino
(2015) modernizing the satirical opera with Daniele Rustioni
conducting and Director Teatro Sotterraneo (whose theory on comedy in
opera is scholarly and even brilliant in his interview in the bonus
featurette) is a combination that works on its own terms as a fin
farce involving tourists that wants to have you leave your brain at
the door without being dumb, dumbed-down or anti-intellectual. Not
for all tastes, I thought it worked well, I liked its attitude and it
is on of the few modernized productions I actually thought worked
among the many we've seen over the years. It is worth your time for
something different and a must for serious Rossini fans.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Jazz
is just fine for a music DVD and has good color and clarity, if
little details are not always there and you get a little motion blur.
All the Blu-rays are in 1080i
1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers save the 1080p 1.78
X 1 on Signor,
which easily looks the best of all the releases here. Eroica
are actually standard old video recordings (likely analog PAL format)
1.33 X 1 recordings upscaled and centered in the 1.78 X 1 frame
(which is why the Jazz
DVD can equal it), but Gershwin
is actually an old HD shoot with far more motion blur than it ought
for sound, the Jazz
CD and DVD have PCM 2.0 Stereo that is about equal, but it is a
little harsh on the DVD, while it is more naturalistic on the CD,
though I wish it were transferred a bit louder. Eroica
2.0 Stereo-only presentations as well and show their age being the
poorest performers, leaving the remaining Blu-rays with DTS-HD MA
(Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes that have good, solid, consistent
soundfields, are very well recorded and superior to their PCM 2.0
Stereo track versions.
in all six releases include illustrated booklets on each of the
releases, while Gershwin,
add Making Of featurette documentaries and Signor
also adds a Cast Gallery.