Carlos Santana presents Blues at Montreux 2004

by | Jan 29, 2007 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Carlos Santana Presents Blues at Montreux 2004   

Studio: Eagle Eye Media  EE 39127-9 2006
Video:  16:9 widescreen
Audio:  DD 1.5, DTS 5.1, PCM Stereo
Length: 238 minutes on three DVDs
Rating: ****

Track listing:
Disc 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)
Disc 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)
Disc 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)

These three discs need to be reviewed as separate discs. They are a microcosm of what is happening in blues these days.

The best disc 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. The video quality is really first rate and most likely was shot in high definition. The picture looks better than any hi-def discs that I have seen. The stereo PCM soundtrack is very good, as good as a good CD. The DTS sound takes away some life, detail and energy from the music. The DD sound turns the music to muzak and completely neuters the music. This is the best blues DVD I have seen to date. Ratings: Sound (PCM) ***, Video ****, Music ****

The Gatormouth Brown disc is fairly good also. It is much more instrumental driven than the Guy DVD. I would call it blues-tinged jazz more than just blues. Musically it’s not quite as good as the Guy disc. I expected a more traditional blues sound from this artist. The video is also not as good because of the lighting used for the concert. More moving, flashing and back-lighting was used. The sound was also not as well defined or live sounding. Sound (PCM) ***, Video ***1/2, Music **1/2

The Bobby Parker disc 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 on this disc. The strong rock show type of lighting hurt picture quality – it was washed out most of the time. 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 **, Music **

This set 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.

— Clay Swartz

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