Carlos Santana Presents Blues at Montreux 2004, Blu-ray

by | Dec 22, 2009 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Carlos Santana Presents Blues at Montreux 2004, Blu-ray

Studio: Eagle Vision EVDRD333459

Video: 16:9 widescreen (1.78:1)

Audio: DD 1.5, DTS HD Master 5.1, PCM Stereo

Length: 238 minutes

Rating: ****

 Session  One – Bobby Parker =
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 (feat Carlos Santana) 10. Mellow Down Easy (feat Carlos Santana) 11. Watch Your Step (feat Carlos Santana)

Session Two – 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 (feat Carlos Santana & Buddy Guy) 8. Drifter (feat Carlos Santana) 9. Grape Jelly (feat Carlos Santana) 10. Okie Dokie Stomp (feat Carlos Santana & Niles Rogers)

Session Three – Buddy Guy =
1. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl 2. Louise McGhee 3. Done Got Old 4. Hoochie Coochie Man 5. Fever 6. Drowning on Dry Land 7. Stormy Monday (feat Carlos Santana) 8. Jam Session 1 (feat Carlos Santana & Buddy Parker) 9. So Many Roads So Many Trains (feat Carlos Santana & Bobby Parker) 10. Jam Session 2 (feat Carlos Santana, Niles Rogers & Bobby Parker)

I reviewed the three-DVD set of this concert on January 29, 2007.  One very good thing is that on Blu-ray it has been condensed to one disc. The concert still has three sessions that can be played separately or with a break between the sessions. If you own the DVD set, it is questionable whether you may want to upgrade to the Blu-ray. The Blu-ray picture is only slightly better than the already very good DVD version. It does handle the lighting better than the DVD. There is a much bigger upgrade in the audio quality of the disc. The Blu-ray has more detail and solidity to the sound. It simply conveys more feeling in the music. I prefer the DTS Master sound track, although the PCM is quite good. The Dolby Digital sounds like you are listening to the music with a large thick curtain in front of you. The DTS-MS is more atmospheric and gives you a better sense of a live concert.
The best session of the three is the Buddy Guy. It’s much more traditional blues in nature than the other two discs. The emphasis is on vocal blues, but there are still lots of instrumental sections. The session starts off with three numbers featuring just Buddy guy and his guitar. The rest of the cuts are with a band. The songs that Guy picks are traditional sounding. When Santana joins him, he sticks out like a sore thumb. A rock guitarist playing the blues without any feeling for the blues. When he is not the featured instrument, things are much better. Barbara Morrison joins him on a couple cuts and makes a good addition to the concert. Ratings: Sound ****, Video ****, Music ****

The Gatormouth Brown session is fairly good also. It is much more instrumental driven than the Guy session. I would call it blues-tinged jazz more than just blues. Songwise, it’s not quite as good as the Guy disc. I expected a more traditional blues sound from this artist. (PCM) ****1/2, Video ****, Music ****

The Bobby Parker session was a disappointment. I would classify it as pop blues. There were more vocals than on the Brown disc. Santana fit in better with this band than he did with the others, but it had no feeling of real blues – too big and polished. The blues needs a rough edge and should carry lots of feeling. I got little feeling from the music in this session. Parker seems too intent on performing and loses the feeling of the music. There was too much noodling going on in their playing. The strong rock show type of lighting hurt picture quality – but the Blu-ray did a much better job than the DVD. Tracks 9 through 11 were better however when the lighting settled down. Sound was also very poor – it sounded like you had the DD track on when you actually had the PCM. The lack of decent sound robbed the music of life. Sound ***1/2, Video ***1/2, Music **1/2

This disc is worth buying for the Buddy Guy disc alone. The Brown disc is a good bonus. I can’t imagine ever playing the Parker disc again. The Blu-ray offers the music on one disc instead of three due to the much larger capacity of the format (50 GB).

– Clay Swartz

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