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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Jazz > Short Film > Norman Granz Improvisation (DTS/Eagle Eye Media)

Norman Granz Improvisation (DTS/Eagle Eye Media)


Picture: C Sound: C+ Extras: B Film: B



A while ago, we enjoyed a bunch of Jazz In Montreux releases on DVD from Eagle Eye, which you can read more about at:





Now, Eagle as uncovered more goodies form the vault in the new double DVD set Norman Granz Improvisation with some classic performances from the classic 1950 film uncut and complete. Fortunately, the disc set does not stop there by any means. Tracks include the film, followed by other great clips:


Mili's Studio Sequence 1950:


1)     Nat Hentoff intro

2)     Opening Title

3)     Ballade

4)     Celebrity

5)     Ad Lib

6)     Pennies From Heaven

7)     Blues For Greasy

8)     Duke Ellington at the Cote D'Azur Blues For Joan Miro

9)     Count Basie At Montreux Jazz Festival 1977 - Nob's Blues

10) Kidney Stew

11) These Foolish Things

12) Joe Pass 1979 Ain't Misbehavin'

13) Prelude To A Kiss

14) Ella Fitzgerald 1979 - Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me

15) I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good

16) Oscar Peterson At Montreux Jazz Festival 1977 with Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry & Eddie Lockjaw Davis - Ali & Frazier



Some of that material and extras material repeats items on previous DVDs in the series, but there is more than enough new material to justify purchase.


The sources for the 1.33 X 1 image vary from black and white film to color and black and white NTSC analog videotape, but are presented about as well as can be expected. A few of the new interviews are in anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 video, but that is rare. The sound is upgraded here to DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1, but you can hear sound limits from the original recordings as these are often vintage recordings and the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is weaker. Extras included on each disc are as follows:


Disc One: Portrait of Norman Granz; narrated by Nat Hentoff, Portraits by David Stone Martin.


Disc Two: Extra rushes (silent black and white), interviews about the Mili session, interviews about Charlie Parker, stills gallery of Paul Nodler's pictures of the Mili session and the original 1944 film Jammin' The Blues as released by Warner Bros., which is as key a work as Improvisation. Besides a terrific performance a step after the Soundies, he short also has the distinction of being shot by Director of Photography Robert Burks. Burks is best known for his legendary work with Alfred Hitchcock on 10 films together among other great works. That alone makes this a must-see, though I hope the film gets an HD transfer next time since this has its share of aliasing problems.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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