Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Dexter Gordon, Charles Mingus, Wes Montgomery, and Sarah Vaughan


Phases & Stages

Dave Brubeck

Live in '64 & '66 (Naxos)

John Coltrane

Live in '60, '61 & '65 (Naxos)

Duke Ellington

Live in '58 (Naxos)

Dexter Gordon

Live in '63 & '64 (Naxos)

Charles Mingus

Live in '64 (Naxos)

Wes Montgomery

Live in '65 (Naxos)

Sarah Vaughan

Live in '58 & '64 (Naxos)

In a culture that treats art as commerce, it's not terribly surprising that NBC, CBS, and ABC missed the opportunity to record and broadcast virtually all the astounding talents of American jazz in their midst during the Fifties and Sixties. European television was considerably more enlightened, presenting U.S. jazz icons at every opportunity. Such is the source for the second installment of live "Jazz Icons" DVDs, artfully filmed in beautiful black and white, of in-studio and concert performances capturing these artists in peak form. While there's something to be said for each video, the John Coltrane stands out, showcasing three different groups in three different phases of his career. There's a 1960 date with Miles Davis' rhythm section and guests Oscar Peterson and Stan Getz. There's the early quartet with Eric Dolphy just a month after the famed Village Vanguard dates in 1961. And there's his classic quartet in 1965, launching into the stratosphere shortly before disbanding. Three sessions for Charles Mingus were all filmed within the same week and feature arguably his best band ever, with Eric Dolphy, Jaki Byard, and Clifford Jordan. Cool, debonair sax man Dexter Gordon is superb, filmed in the era of his best work for Blue Note. Likewise, the not-often-seen Wes Montgomery demonstrates why he was the pre-eminent guitarist of the day. The Duke Ellington Orchestra from 1958, the divine Sarah Vaughan, and the ever-popular Dave Brubeck Quartet with Paul Desmond all shine brilliantly as well, preserved by a Continental standard that knew better.

(Coltrane) ****

(Mingus, Gordon, Montgomery) ***.5

(Ellington, Vaughan, Brubeck) ***

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Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Dexter Gordon, Charles Mingus, Wes Montgomery, Sarah Vaughan

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