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No synopsis for Experience Montreux.
For more about Experience Montreux and the Experience Montreux Blu-ray release, see Experience Montreux Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on June 15, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Elvis Costello
» See full cast & crew
Experience Montreux Blu-ray Review
A one of a kind 'Experience'.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, June 15, 2013
Well, you can now add this to the list of things you thought you'd never see on Blu-ray: not one, but several, Montreux Jazz Festival performances in 3D! Eagle Rock Entertainment has been releasing a glut of Blu-rays exploiting the rather deep catalog of the Montreux Festival, offering a huge range of styles and genres, and almost always with stellar video and audio quality. This compilation offers another pretty stunning array of artists captured at ther 44th Festival from 2010. Anyone who has been a fan of the Montreux Jazz Festival, either in person or by dint of these often quite remarkable home video releases, knows that the label "jazz" is only partially correct. Festival founder Claude Nobs, who shepherded the Festival from a kind of garden party beginning to its huge international reputation, was nothing if not a man of varied tastes. Nobs sadly passed away earlier this year, and it will be interesting to see how the Festival proceeds without his inspired leadership. But this two disc release more than adequately proves just how eclectic Nobs' tastes were. Yes, there's jazz here, as is to be expected, but there's so much more.
This two disc set features a kind of potpourri of hugely disparate acts on the first disc and a somewhat more focused (though incredibly varied) presentation of Quincy Jones and Herbie Hancock on the second. Even a cursory review of the bands and tunes included (listed below) will show what a widely varied amalgamation of styles this set encompasses. From the kind of trip hop exemplified by Massive Attack to a kind of homage to Miriam Makeba offered by Angelique Kidjo to the indie rock of The Maccabees, the first disc is a beautiful sampler showing what an incredible kaleidoscope of bands continue to appear at the Festival. There seems to be an almost religious reverence felt by some of these bands as they perform as such a vaunted venue, as evidenced by some of their introductory comments before they launch into their material. Nobs has built a very formidable operation at Montreux, that much is more than clear.
The second disc is more solidly in jazz territory, though there's a definite World Music edge here in the Quincy Jones set courtesy of Cameroon native Richard Bona, who sings and plays bass, and the absolutely astoundingly gifted Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez, who pounds through an unbelievable tour de force solo on "Crossing the Border". These perhaps comparatively lesser known talents are joined by some regular Jones collaborators like the legendary Brazilian percussionist Paulinho da Costa and regular session keyboard guy Greg Phillinganes. Herbie's set includes some really incredible material, especially a fascinating reworking of Joni Mitchell's classic "Court and Spark", given a smoky vocal treatment by Kristina Train and which features a really spacy, extended solo section.
As if the sheer volume of music isn't enough to recommend this set, there are even more pleasures to be had, including some long, lingering looks at the absolutely gorgeous scenery in and around Montreux. Also adding interest are several interstitial interviews with several of the participants where they discuss their backgrounds and what they're hoping to achieve in their performances. There are some fascinating confessionals here, including Hancock's brief but obviously heartfelt thanks to his practice of Buddhism.
The two discs contain the following material:
Disc One: Experience Montreux
Experience Montreux Blu-ray, Video Quality
Experience Montreux is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Eagle Vision (an imprint of Eagle Rock Entertainment) with AVC (2D) and MVC (3D) encoded 1080p transfers in 1.78:1. The 2D presentation has some typical bugaboos that seem to haunt these live performance videos, as exemplified by the opening light display before Massive Attack takes the stage on Disc One. A huge blue flare lights everything up, which devolves into rampant posterizing, which is followed by obvious banding and, just for good measure, a little macroblocking. Quite a bit of the all the performances have a slightly hazy quality, something that is perhaps attributable, at least in part, to the massive amounts of dry ice smoke being pumped onto the stage. Things improve under more normal lighting conditions, and close-ups fare really well a lot of the time. Contrast is very consistent, and there's actually above average shadow detail most of the time, even on darkened stages. Colors are very accurate looking and nicely saturated, though they tend to appear a bit weird under some of the lighting schemes.
Color me at least a little surprised by how good the 3D presentation on Experience Montreux is. Right off the bat, with a lovely view of a Montreux seascape with a couple of bushes in the foreground, we're given an immediate sense of depth and scale, something that continues with a number of other scenic shots, many of which utilize framing device like views through windows or grill work to establish depth of field. The concert footage tends to be a little more hit or miss, though it's largely hit. The shots from in back of the audience have decent spatial immersion, but some of the lateral shots (typically 3/4 shots taken from the wings or close to the stage's lip) tend not to pop quite as well. Perhaps a bit strangely, shots taken at a 90 degree angle to the stage offer exceptional depth of field and dimensionality. Both the interstitial interview segments as well as some framing devices (for example, shots of instruments before Mumford & Sons take the stage) look spectacular.
Experience Montreux Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Experience Montreux features two boisterous mixes, a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround offering and an uncompressed LPCM 2.0 stereo fold down. The 5.1 mix is exceptional, especially on the first disc, where the variety of styles is more than easily handled, with exceptional clarity and excellent spatial separation. I was just a tad less happy with the 5.1 mix on the Jones/Hancock disc, only because these guys tend to feature heavy bass work, which to my ears at least was a little overpowering in the 5.1 mix. Those who really like a lot of punch in the low end will probably love the Jones/Hancock disc and the 5.1 mix for that very reason. Fidelity is superb and dynamic range is very wide.
Experience Montreux Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
No supplements are offered on either Blu-ray disc in this set.
Experience Montreux Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
If you've been holding off buying any of these Montreux Festival Blu-rays, there's no better time to jump in with both feet (much like some of the swimmers shown in one of the "travelogue" scenes that make this set so gorgeous to watch). This is a fantastic sampler that proves just how varied the Montreux Festival has become over the years. Admittedly, not everything will probably appeal to everyone on both of these discs, but there should be more than enough to capture any individual's fancy to make this a must have. Adding to the excellence of the music (as if that weren't enough) are the incredible shots of the scenery and some really interesting albeit brief interview segments. Though the basic video here has the same issues that plague many live performance outings, the 3D rendering is really quite outstanding, all things considered. Even if you don't have a 3D setup in your home theater, this release definitely comes Highly recommended.
Experience Montreux Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Experience Montreux 3D - June 6, 2013
Eagle Rock Entertainment have officially announced that they will release on Blu-ray Experience Montreux, featuring live performances of full tracks by Mumford & Sons, Elvis Costello, Massive Attack, Joe Bonamassa, Angelique Kidjo, Sophie Hunger, Martina Topley ...
Experience Montreux Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
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