Wednesday, July 1, 2009

DVD of the Month - "Charles Mingus: Epitaph"

DVD of the Month
Charles Mingus: "Epitaph" (Eagle Vision/ST2) 2009

Previously released only on CD (in the USA, Europe and Asia) and LaserDisc (only in Japan as a 2-LD set in deluxe gatefold cover), this Charles Mingus' jazz orchestral masterpiece appears on DVD format for the very first time - with a new cover art. And it's already one of the Top 10 DVDs of the year!
On June 3rd, 1989, the Alice Tully Hall at New York's Lincoln Center was the venue for the world premiere performance of Charles Mingus' "Epitaph."
Conductor Gunther Schuller directed 30 musicians in what the New York Times described as 'One of the most memorable jazz events of the decade'.
The piece had been discovered after Mingus' death in 1979 and painstakingly restored and edited from its manuscript by Schuller. It is the largest and longest piece for jazz orchestra ever written, and this performances features such great musicians as Randy Brecker, Lew Soloff, Wynton Marsalis, Roland Hanna, Sam Burtis, Urbie Green, Jerome Richardson, Bobby Watson, John Hicks, John Abercrombie, Michael Rabinowitz (who performs one of the best jazz bassoon solos ever on "Wolverine Blues"), George Adams, Phil Bodner, Don Butterfield, John Handy, Gary Smulyan, Roger Rosenberg, Victor Lewis, Karl Berger, Joe Wilder, Snooky Young and many others. Sadly, many of these jazz giants have passed away since the 1989 concert...
Some of the highlights: "Moods in Mambo," "O.P." (Oscar Pettiford), "Monk, Bunk and Vice Versa," "Peggy's Blue Skylight" (a great moment for Abercrombie), "Freedom" and "Better Get It In Your Soul."
Hope to see another great tribute to Mingus, "Weird Nightmare," coming out soon on DVD, since, like "Epitaph," it was originally released on CD (in the USA) and LD (in Japan).

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