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Carlos Santana Presents Blues at Montreux(2004)
The Montreux Jazz Festival goes back to its roots with this very special blues concert. Filmed in 2004, the show features some of the finest blues guitar playing around from three of the genre's greatest luminaries: Bobby Parker, Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown, and Buddy Guy. Guitar legend Carlos Santana provides the musical direction, bringing a touch of America's Deep South to the shores of Lake Geneva.
For more about Carlos Santana Presents Blues at Montreux and the Carlos Santana Presents Blues at Montreux Blu-ray release, see Carlos Santana Presents Blues at Montreux Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on January 25, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Carlos Santana Presents Blues at Montreux Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, January 25, 2010
Blues has always been an important part of Carlos Santana's music. In fact, when he started his career in San Francisco back in the early 60s, his group was known as the Santana Blues Band. In July 2004, Santana performed with three legendary bluesmen and good friends of his at the Montreux Jazz Festival - Bobby Parker, Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown and Buddy Guy - whose individual sets are included on this Blu-ray disc.
Louisiana-native Bobby Parker's career has been fairly uneven. During the early 60s, Parker relocated to Los Angeles where he played at various clubs and eventually met blues legend Johnny Otis. Later on, he moved to New York City where he finally started getting the type of exposure he had been hoping for - back-up work for Chuck Berry, Jackie Wilson, Eta James and even Little Richard. In 1961, Parker recorded the hit single "Watch Your Step", which Santana would later on perform regularly. In the early 90s, he managed to record two albums, "Bent Out of Shape" (1993) and "Shine Me Up" (1995), for the Scott Bros and their Black Top Records.
The eleven songs Parker performed at the Montrux Jazz Festival prove that he was still at the top of his game in 2004 - "So Glad I Found You", "It's Unfair" and especially "Chill Out" with Carlos Santana are pure gold (Santana also appears on "Mellow Down Easy" and "Watch Your Step").
Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown is another Louisiana-native guitarist who found success away from home - he began his career in Texas after attending a T-Bone Walker concert, and always described his music as "Texas style". During the years, Brown performed with such iconic musicians as Otis Rush, Louis Jordan, Ry Cooder and Eric Clapton. According to a number of different sources, he was an inspirational figure to Frank Zappa.
At the Montreux Jazz Festival, Brown performed a total of ten songs, of which "Strange Things Happen", "I've Got My Mojo Working" (with Santana and Buddy Guy) and "Okie Dokie Stomp" (with Santana and Nile Rogers) show perfectly what he was capable of. Brown is also impressive playing the violin in "Sunrise Cajun Style".
Living legend Buddy Guy, also a Louisiana-native, has influenced such musicians as Jimmi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Mark Knopfler. Guy became successful after he relocated from Baton Rouge to Chicago in the late 50s, where he performed at a number of different blues clubs, and eventually got a record deal. During the late 60s, however, he struggled enormously, and it took more than twenty years before he returned to prominence in the late 80s (partially die to Clapton's popularization of blues).
Guy performed a total of ten songs at the Montreux Jazz Festival, including such classics as "Stormy Monday" (with Santana), "Drowning on Dry Land" and Willie Dixon's "Hoochie Coochie Man". The real jams in this set, however, are the acoustic guitar versions of Sonny Boy Williams' "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl", "Louise McGhee" and "Done Got Old".
1. Straight Up No Chaser
2. Break It Up
3. Breaking Up Somebody's Home
4. Nothing But The Blues
5. So Glad I Found You
6. I Ain't Superstitious
7. It's Unfair
8. Going Down Slow
9. Chill Out (with Carlos Santana)
10. Mellow Down Easy (with Carlos Santana)
11. Wathc Your Step (with Carlos Santana)
Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown
1. Bits and Pieces
2. Strange Things Happen
3. I'm Beginning To See The Light
4. Sunrise Cajun Style
5. Honey Boy
6. Further On Up The Road
7. I've Got My Mojo Working (with Carlos Santana & Buddy Guy)
8. Drifter (with Carlos Santana)
9. Grape Jelly (with Carlos Santana)
10. Okie Dokie Stomp (with Carlos Santana & Nile Rodgers)
1. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
2. Louise McGhee
3. Done Got Old
4. Hoochie Coochie Man
6. Drowning On Dry Land
7. Stormy Monday (with Carlos Santana)
8. Jam Session I (with Carlos Santana & Bobby Parker)
9. So Many Roads So Many Trains (with Carlos Santana & Bobby Parker)
10. Jam Session II (with Carlos Santana, Nile Rodgers & Bobby Parker)
Carlos Santana Presents Blues at Montreux Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080i "live" transfer, Carlos Santana Presents Blues at Montreux arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Eagle Rock Entertainment.
This is simply a wonderful high-definition transfer. In the three sets included on this Blu-ray disc, clarity and detail are terrific. Contrast levels are also very good, and even though the stage lighting changes quite often, there are absolutely no shadow issues to report in this review whatsoever. "Motion-judder" is not an issue of concern; the only time I noticed its presence was during Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown's set. Furthermore, severe macroblocking and digital noise do not plague the transfer. On the contrary, the image is remarkably crisp and clean. All in all, Carlos Santana Presents Blues at Montreux certainly ranks amongst the every best releases in Eagle Rock Entertainment's impressive catalog. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
Carlos Santana Presents Blues at Montreux Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are three audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and LPCM 2.0. I opted for the Music DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and later on did a few random comparisons with the other two tracks for the purpose of this review.
Out of the three sets included on this Blu-ray disc, Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown's set is the most impressive one. His raw guitar sound is so rich, I literally felt as if I was right next to the legendary bluesman. During Buddy Guy's set there are some balance fluctuations, but the overall quality of the sound is still exceptionally high. Bobby Parker's set is just as good, with some truly impressive improvisations that will surely delight aspiring guitarists and casual blues aficionados. Finally, the crowd noise is well contained on all three sets.
The LPCM 2.0 track is quite strong. Dynamically, it does not impress as much as the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track does - particularly during the group sessions - but it is nevertheless of very high quality. For the record, I did not detect any annoying pops or cracks to report in this review.
Carlos Santana Presents Blues at Montreux Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Unfortunately, this Blu-ray disc does not contain any supplemental features.
Carlos Santana Presents Blues at Montreux Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Words can not describe how good this disc is - all three sets are pure gold! And Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown's music impressed me so much, I am going to try to buy as many of his CDs as I could get my hands on. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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