DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Quincy Jones 75th Birthday Celebration, Blu-ray (2009) Live at Montreux 2008

Nearly three hours of musical fun grace this superb tribute event.

Published on July 28, 2009

Quincy Jones 75th Birthday Celebration, Blu-ray (2009)
Live at Montreux 2008

Quincy Jones 75th Birthday Celebration, Blu-ray (2009)
Live at Montreux 2008

Performers: The Montreux In The House Band, The Swiss Army Big Band/Pepe Lienhard-dir., Guests: Monty Alexander, Franco Ambrosetti, Patti Austin, Petula Clark, Billy Cobham, Herbie Hancock, Mick Hucknall, Al Jarreau, Chaka Khan, Angelique Kidjo, Beverley Knight, Nils Landgren, Ledisi, James Moody, James Morrison, Nana Mouskouri, Naturally 7, Paolo Nutini, Rahsaan Patterson, Freda Payne, Tobias Presig, Lee Ritenour, Patrice Rushen, Joe Sample Curtis Stigers, Toots Thielemans, Larry Williams, hosted by Claude Nobs
Studio: Eagle Vision EVBRD-33338-9 [Release date: July 21, 09]
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 color 1080i HD
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DD5.1, PCM 2.0
No region coding
Extras: “ThankQ. – A Montreux Tribue to Quincy Jones” – behind-the-scenes at Claude’s chalet, rehearsals, backstage and more; 48-page color photo booklet
Length: 178 minutes
Rating: *****

The internationally-famous Montreux Switzerland jazz festival mounted a fine tribute to American music figure Quincy Jones back in 1996, and here is another one even bigger and better and in magnificent Blu-ray and lossless surround. Even at its three-hour length it is edited down from what Quincy himself describes as “Five hours of tributes, with 360 degrees of musicality – no categories – in fact, anti-categories.” There are 31 numbers listed on the box, and some are medleys. Genres’ jump around from pop to jazz to funk to soul to blues to rock. They mostly feature vocalists with the very impressive Swiss big band, but they also include instrumentals, and unusual solo instruments such as Thielemans’ harmonica, Hancock’s guitar-like keyboard, , Ambrosetti’s trumpet (in lovely recreations of two of the Miles/Gil Evans collaborations), a fine flutist and some hot solo violin. Most of the selections had appeared at one time or another on a past Quincy Jones album or one he produced, and many of them feature arrangements or lyrics which Jones had provided.

The opening selection may be the most unexpected of the whole tribute – a major production of the Morricone theme from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (which Nobs first announces as The Big, The Bad and the Ugly). It’s great to see artists one has not seen performing in person lately or ever – such as Pet Clark, James Moody, Al Jarreau and Chaka Khan. The last-mentioned dominates the stage in several numbers including a great duet with Patti Austin, and the Naturally 7 amaze the audience present and ourselves with their indescribable variety of rhythmic vocal sounds.  (When I saw them appear onstage I thought they were going to be seven rappers – what a relief!) Moody does his vocal on Moody’s Mood with Patti Austin, and Freda Payne shines in Honeysuckle Rose
and Shiny Stockings.

The often-moving and swooping camerawork is superb, and the DTS lossless surround is most involving.  Everything looks gorgeous in the Blu-ray transfer, and we are thankfully exempt from all the between-numbers patter.  This is a truly incredible musical event with the widest appeal!

Intro by Claude Nobs, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, Let the Good Times Roll, Makin’ Whoopee, Moody’s Mood, The TV Song, Honeysuckle Rose, Shiny Stockings, I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town/In the Heat of the Night, If I Ever Lose This Heaven, Midnight Sun, One Mint Julep, Goin’ to Chicago Blues, My Ship/Summertime; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Almost Like Being in Love, Miss Celie’s Blues (Sister), What’s Going On, Eyes of Love/Bluesette, Walking in Space, Strawberry Letter 23, How Do You Keep the Music Playing?, The Dude, Billie Jean, Wall of Sound, Mama Aifambeni, State of Independence, Everything Must Change, Killer Joe, Ai No Corrida, Stuff Like That.

 – John Henry

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