Sunday, March 1, 2009

DVD of the Month - "Improvisation"

DVD of the Month
"Norman Granz Presents... Improvisation" (Eagle Eye/ST2) 2009

In a single word: essential. In 1944, jazz impresario Norman Granz and the famous Life Magazine photographer Gjon Mili collaborated on a film titled "Jammin' The Blues". Highly successful, it was nominated for an Oscar for "Best Short Film". In 1950 they collaborated again on a film about jazz improvisation that was never completed, featuring Charlie Parker, Hank Jones, Buddy Rich, Ray Brown, Lester Young, Flip Phillips and Bill Harris.
This footage has now been combined with other shots by Norman Granz at different times and locations (performances by Duke Ellington, Joe Pass, Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson, among others) to create this new 2-DVD set simply titled "Improvisation".
Bonus features include a Norman Granz profile narrated by Nat Hentoff, portraits by David Stone Martin, interviews about the Mili session (with Hank Jones, Harry "Sweets" Edison & Clark Terry) and Charlie Parker (with Ira Gitler, Phil Woods, Jay McShann, James Moody, Slide Hampton, Roy Haynes and Jimmy Heath), photo gallery of Paul Nodler's pictures of the Mili session, silent footage from the jam sessions and the original 1944 film "Jammin' The Blues", which featured Lester Young, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Illinois Jacquet, Barney Kessel, Jo Jones, Sid Catlett, Red Callender et al.
Deluxe issue including a 12-page booklet annotated by Jacques Muyal and Artan Kafexhiu.

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