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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Rock > Pop > Experimental > Progressive > Concert > Music Videos > Documentary > Mariachi > Jazz > B > Flying Colors - Second Flight: Live At The Z7 (2015/Mascot DVD/2 CD Set)/Mateo (2014/XLrator DVD)/The 1955 Rock 'n Roll Revue and Rhythm and Blues Revue (Film Chest DVD Set)/The Robert Cray Band: 4 Ni

Flying Colors - Second Flight: Live At The Z7 (2015/Mascot DVD/2 CD Set)/Mateo (2014/XLrator DVD)/The 1955 Rock 'n Roll Revue and Rhythm and Blues Revue (Film Chest DVD Set)/The Robert Cray Band: 4 Nights Of 40 Years Live (2015/Mascot Blu-ray/2 CD Set)

Picture: C+/C+/C+/B- Sound: C+ (CDs: B-)/C+/C/C+ (CDs: B-) Extras: C-/C-/C+/C- Main Programs: C+/C+/B-/B-

Here's another set of new music releases to know about...

Flying Colors - Second Flight: Live At The Z7 (2015) comes from a somewhat experimental Pop/Rock outfit that reminded me of the neo-Prog Rock bands of the 1980s (Asia, GTR, etc.) if they were around today. This program is being issued on Blu-ray, et al, but we got the DVD/2 CD set that is not bad and certainly gives you an idea of what the band is about, but the music did not stay with me and is only going to reach a niche audience. Certainly the sample is more than big enough, but only if this might be your kind of music (being a huge Yes fan, I'm OK with it, but like the classic, first bands in the genre first) should you check into this. Still, I'm curious to see where they are going, so we'll see.

Four passable music video clips are the only extras.

Aaron R. Naar's Mateo (2014) is a music documentary about Matthew Stoneman, whose trip to jail led him to be a white mariachi singer! A music fan who learned Spanish in 'the can', here is his story of recording the music and trying to make a name for himself in a situation that is already tough in a crowded field. This somewhat amusing 88 minutes gets one-note when it keeps trying (and trying too hard) to have the humor of an independent mumblecore comedy film following him to show us how he is 'funny' without trying. Instead, it wastes tons of time that would have been better spent on character study or telling us more. It might be worth a look for the interested, but I thought it grew thin.

A trailer is the only extra.

The 1955 Rock 'n Roll Revue and Rhythm and Blues Revue is a DVD set that features two music films made at the same time with some amazing, legendary artists in what is sadly among the few times they were filmed properly on 35mm film of any kind. Some of them may have been precursors to what Rock became, but the talent (including a few artists you might not have heard of) is amazing. The first film (Rock) features Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, The Clovers (singing Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash, but I wish it were their original Love Potion No. 9), Dinah Washington, Big Joe Turner, Lionel Hampton, Martha Davis & Her Spouse, The Delta Rhythm Boys, Ruth Brown and more. Hampton, Turner, The Delta Rhythm Boys, Cole & brown return with new performances in the second film (Blues) joined this time by Faye Adams, Sarah Vaughn, Count Basie and Cab Calloway.

Another bonus in both films is that legendary comedian Nipsey Russell, now known for being so hilarious on TV shows (especially the original years of the classic game show Match Game, reviewed elsewhere on this site) shows up in great witty form, classy and great as always. Mantan Moreland, who I always liked despite roles he took that are considered problematic today (the way-overly-nervous 'comic' relief in the later, lesser Monogram Charlie Chan films) gets quality screen time here, including with Russell.

These are also the full-length versions of these films from what we could research, so that's a big plus.

The only extras are a slip of paper hat lists the songs in all three films and the bonus film, Rock, Rock, Rock (1956) that we reviewed a good while ago at this link:


The Robert Cray Band: 4 Nights Of 40 Years Live (2015) shows that there is far more to the group whose only hit is the 1987 track Smoking Gun, we get a really thorough 94 minutes-long look at his long career (he has aged well) starting with how his exceptional sense of Jazz & Blues playing made him a standout musician, as well as musician's musician early on. From there, he built on that, which attracted some of the best musicians in the business (and those genres). Now, a survivor and near-legend, it was long overdue to tell his story and with so much to tell, this is never dull. It gives you an idea of the serious life of making music a way of life and the serious community of musicians we see less and less of these days. Nice, and the two CDs are loaded with live performances and other tracks that makes this a really, really nice package. The only issue will be if you like this kind of music or not. I do enough, if not a huge fan of it, so non fans should at least give it a look and listen.

The only extras in this DigiPak foldout (with holders for the CDs I am not fond of) is an illustrated booklet on the documentary including informative text.

The DVDs are about even for picture quality despite being different shoots with the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Flight being from a 4K shoot that looks OK, but could look a bit better, which is why I would be very curious to see this on Blu-ray and even the upcoming Ultra HD Blu-ray format. Mateo is a a more standard HD shoot, but is not bad and has good color, though you can tell it is not quite as rich of that of Flight. The 1.33 X 1 black & white image on all three programs for Revue are shot on 35mm film, but tend to be a little rough due to the age of the prints, with the bonus Rock film softer still like the DVD we looked at about 11 years ago. Thus, the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the Cray Blu-ray may have have some motion blue issues, but it is the best performer on the list. I have a feeling Flight would look a little better in the same format but we'll see.

I expected the Cray Blu-ray to be the best sonic performer, but the varied recordings and performances on the sets of Flight and Cray PCM 2.0 16/44.1 Stereo CDs have the best, smoothest sound on the list. The Cray Blu-ray is shockingly only lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and disappoints, like the Flight DVD, which also offers two variations of lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 that sound better, but not great. Press material on Flight raves about its higher fidelity sound, but unless we hear it on the Blu-ray, we'll only have to wonder if they really delivered. Mateo offers both a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 that has a problematic separation in it soundfield and a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo that actually sounds clearer and better.

The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on all three films on the Revue set are transferred at too low a volume and could sound better, so be careful of volume switching and high levels, making it the poorest set sonically.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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