RMS, Live at Montreux Jazz Festival 1983

by | Jan 22, 2006 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

RMS, Live at Montreux Jazz Festival 1983
With Gil Evans

Studio: Angel Air
Video: 4:3 color
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Extras: The Story Behind the Concert, Band Quotes, Bios; Photo Gallery
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: **

RMS  was a fusion trio consisting of Ray Russell and Mo Foster on various electric guitars and Simon Phillips on drums.  For this appearance at Montreux they were joined by several guest artists: Gil Evans and Mark Isham on the Fender Rhodes electric piano that was so popular at that period, Mark also playing his usual trumpet and a synthesizer, and a horn trio consisting of trumpet/Fluegelhorn, trombone and sax. Of the nine tunes Evans plays on three.  The first two were treatments of Jimi Hendrix tunes and left me underwhelmed. The third was Evans own re-imagining of the theme  My Man’s Gone Now from Porgy and Bess, but little of his very atmospheric arrangement came thru in the setting for Fender Rhodes, guitars and horns. Isham is kept in the background pretty much; this was obviously early in his career.

I found the music of RMS noisy but generally soporific at the same time.  There are some fusion groups I’m not averse to, but this is not one of them.  Seemed to be endless diddling around with themes that provided little substance with which to improvise. Back in l983 we didn’t have hi-def video by any means, and with only the very dim stage lighting the result is one of the darkest and murkiest videos I’ve seen in some time.  It seems it’s easier to make a 5.1 silk purse out of a 2.0 sow’s ear than it is to enhance poorly-shot videos.

Tunes: Broadway Rundown, First Love, The Whole of Tomorrow, So Far Away, Hoover the Duvet, Stone Free, Little Wing, Gone, Juna the Last.

– John Henry

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