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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Jazz > Jazz Masters - Alberta Hunter + Mel Lewis

Jazz Masters Series – Alberta Hunter + Mel Lewis


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: D     Concerts: B- each



We continue our look at Shanachie’s Jazz Masters Series with two more individual DVDs taken from performances at The Smithsonian Institute.  This time, we have Alberta Hunter from November 29th 1981 and Mel Lewis & His Jazz Orchestra from February 19th 1982.  Each program runs about an hour.  Miss Hunter may play the old sex and lust card a bit much, age notwithstanding, but she is good on most of her material and is still a fine entertainer decades later.  Her set includes:


1)     My Castle’s Rockin’

2)     Down Hearted Blues

3)     My Handy Man

4)     When You’re Smiling

5)     Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out

6)     Without Rhythm

7)     Without A Song

8)     Hunter interview

9)     Darktown Strutter’s Ball

10)  Rough & Ready Man

11)  Time Waits For No One

12)  Blackman

13)  You Can’t Tell The Difference After Dark

14)  Remember My Name



Mel Lewis is a big band Jazzman, so his performances have hardly any vocals and go into the opposite direction in showmanship.  He and his many talented musicians have to impress with the bulk of their instrumental talent, something they do with easy and joy.  That set includes:


1)     One Finger Snap

2)     The Dolphin Dance

3)     Lewis interview

4)     Make Me Smile

5)     The Eye Of The Hurricane



I could not choose which I enjoyed more as a result of the difference, but why each name is considered so key in the genre.  Both were shot on profession 1.33 x 1 analog NTSC video and the stereo sound is very simple and smaller than one would have liked here in Dolby Digital 2.0 when PCM might have served this better.  The source is obviously a generation or two down and there are no extras.  Jazz fans will want all these volumes, including the previously reviewed DVDs on Art Blakely and Benny Carter, as well as separate DVDs on Red Norvo and Art farmer, reviewed elsewhere on this site.  Hope we see more soon.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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