DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Experience Montreux, Blu-ray 3D (2013)

A demo-level 3D production with some great shots but not much jazz.

Published on June 28, 2013

Experience Montreux, Blu-ray 3D (2013)

Experience Montreux, Blu-ray 3D (2013)

“The Music, The Magic & The Majesty”
Live performances by: Quincy Jones, Global Gumbo All Stars, Herbie Hancock & The Imagine Project, Nikki Yanofsky, Massive Attack, Momford & Sons, Elvis Costello, Joe Bonamassa, The Maccabees, Yacht, Sophie Hunger, Martina Topley Bird, Angelique Kidjo, Nas & Damian, Leszek Mozdzer, Alfredo Rodriguez, Broken Bells, Macadam Jazz Band
Director: David Bernard
Studio: Foundation du Festival de Jazz de Montreux/Eagle Vision 3D (2 discs)
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 1080i 3D HD
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, PCM Stereo
Extras: Interviews interspersed in performances
Length: Disc 1 – 85 min.; Disc 2 – 120 min.
Rating: ****

In one of the many short interviews between the music performances Elvis Costello mentioned the fact that many of the jazz festivals nowadays feature very little jazz, and he even admits that he’s part of that in this case. While I did enjoy his one number, I could frankly care less for all the European rock and folk groups who fill up the first of the two 3D discs. Never even heard of most of them, and one was even a rap duo. Strangely, the only jazz stage performance on this first disc is a repeat of what will be seen on the second disc: Herbie Hancock and his band doing his famous “Watermelon Man.” Have no idea why it’s repeated on both discs.

Some might not even consider most of Herbie Hancock set to be jazz, but his Imagine group is great fun here, and his girl bass guitarist Tal Wilkenfeld is something to see and hear. Some of the introductions are by Quincy Jones, who discusses his long friendship with both Hancock and the late Claude Nobs, the founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, who recently passed away. In fact this entire production, filmed in 3D at the 44th Festival in 2010, is a sort of tribute to Nobs and a celebration of the magic of the Montreux Jazz Festival. Nobs was always up on the latest technology and always had Montreux filmed with the latest equipment, and was nuts about 3D. Nagra/Kudelski was involved in financing the production and Kudelski was one of the producers. Jones introduces the most amazing young scat singer, the Canadian 16-year-old, Nikki Yanofsky. Herbie sometimes gets up from his grand piano and synths and parades around with a guitar-shaped keyboard synth.  There are some nice 3D shots of some of the instruments and backstage as still lifes.

The second disc makes some inroads into Brazilian and African music, with Lionel Loueke and Paulinho da Costa among the musicians. The band does a lovely extended version of John Lennon’s touching “Imagine.”  The Blu-rays are filled here and there with stunning 3D footage of Montreux, the lake and the Swiss Alps. At the conclusion of the first disc is a trolley ride away from the festival gates which will captivate any trolley and/or 3D fan. I found using the Vivid setting on my display (with its increased brightness to compensate for the darkening effect of the 3D glasses) made the stage background too greyish, so I watched it at the Custom setting, which appeared much darker, except for the outdoor footage. By the way, there’s also a 2D option here.

—John Sunier

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