Buddy Rich, drums with Bill Cunliffe, piano;
Steve Marcus, saxophones; Paul Phillips, trumpet;
Dave Carpenter, bass; and others
Video: 4:3 full screen color
Audio: DD 4.0 surround, DTS 4.0 surround, PCM 2.0 stereo
Extras: Performer commentaries
Length: 115 minutes
This 1985 video will serve as a companion piece to the Emmy award-winning disc “Channel One Suite.” Both performances were recorded on the same night, and the tapes for this particular session were feared lost in a 1990 fire. If you’re a Buddy Rich fan, this DVD is a no-brainer, and casual, jazz and big band fans will also find much to appreciate here. To see the skill and dexterity that he possessed at the drum kit – at age 67, no less – is just astonishing, and will easily make converts out of most who witness this spectacle. This concert was the last recording he made prior to his untimely death in 1987, and this disc was lovingly assembled and restored with the cooperation of his daughter.
Musically, this disc is one gigantic highlight reel; Buddy’s in the forefront, of course, but none of the supporting players are slouches, either, and all the solos are superb. Particularly noteworthy is the West Side Story Medley, which was his signature performance piece. The sound quality is first-class, and both the DTS and DD 4.0 soundtracks were exceptional. Unfortunately, the video has not fared as well, and the picture quality is really very grainy. For collectors and die-hard fans this won’t be a problem, but it does keep this disc from getting four stars. Aside from the commentaries, there are no extras. Recommended.
Tracks: Mexicali Nose; Willowcrest; Round Midnight; Cotton Tail; New Blues; Tee Bag; The Red Snapper; West Side Story Medley.
— Tom Gibbs