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Various Artists

Legends Live at Montreux 1997 DVD

Review by Gary Hill

Well, they couldn't have titled this one better. This DVD is an excellent film record of a concert from the renowned Montreux Jazz Festival, and all these guys are legends. First up you have Eric Clapton - if you are a rock fan and don't know that name - you better go back to school. Next up is drummer Steve Gadd. Gadd should be well known to all fans of jazz having played with such legends as Dizzy Gillespie (at the ripe old age of 11!), Al DiMeola, Chick Corea. He also had his own outfit the Gadd Gang. Marcus Miller provides both bass guitar and bass clarinet. He has been found playing in the company of such a diverse cast of names as Miles Davis, Bob James, Chaka Khan and Earl Klugh in addition to releasing a number of solo albums. David Sanborn's saxophone has graced not only his solo albums, but also a whole host of music by such people as Albert King, Stevie Wonder and David Bowie, to name just a few. Joe Sample rounds out the lineup. Sample was a founding member of The Jazz Crusaders and has been a jazz keyboardist to be reckoned with ever since. One might expect big things from such an outfit, and they deliver.

No one is a star in this ensemble, the group instead choosing to spread the spotlight out amongst all the musicians. One might expect with Clapton onboard to be given a rock and roll show, but that's not what you will find here. This release features jazz and blues performed with a killer flavor and great musical talent. It grooves, it croons, it rocks at times and it gets funky at times - but it never ceases to be entertaining.

With the strength of this release it's hard to find any faults, but I suppose that if there were any it would be the lack of bonus features. The quality of the music, video and sound here definitely don't leave you wanting in the least, though. This one is about as close to a win/win as you can get. Even the selections of tunes, ranging from standards to lesser-known cuts and even a jazzy take on the classic "Layla" can't be faulted in the least. If you like jazz or just want to catch some of the greats in a killer one-time performance, you have to pick this one up.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 
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