MVD Visual // 1986 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart (Retired) // July 30th, 2011
"They say that applause is food for an artist. Tonight, there will be no malnutrition." -- Dizzy Gillespie
"We're going to pause for a minute and introduce the musicians in the group," Dizzy Gillespie says at the start of the 1986 concert in Dizzy Gillespie in Redondo. Then he does. He introduces them to each other. It's a funny bit, with his band shaking hands like they've just met. At the end, he'll introduce the musicians -- Ed Sherry, Michael Howell, Tom Campbell, Tom MacIntosh, Paquito D'Rivera, Ray Brown, and Valerie Capers -- seriously and generously.
In between, you might get to know the musicians, or at least Sherry's intense expression while playing the guitar, on your own, since director Gary Keys gives you the concert from all angles. The DVD case promises "lots of closeups," and Keys delivers. It really feels like you're watching from onstage. The names of the performers are also helpfully flashed on the screen so you don't have to be a jazz historian to know who's who.
The set list is all good, albeit small:
* "Be Bop"
* "Birks Works"
* "I'm Hard of Hearing Mama"
* "Jazz America"
"I'm Hard of Hearing Mama" might turn out to be a favorite, because it shows off Gillespie's bluesy singing, not just his trumpet virtuosity. He delivers it with the self-deprecating humor of a veteran musician.
Dizzy Gillespie in Redondo isn't perfect, though. The concert's short, to fill an hour of public television. The video also has the usual flaring from stage lighting, along with some occasional fuzzy lines from the videotape. The sound's decent, although the DVD case doesn't bother to tell you if it's stereo or not. You might also wish MVD Video had found some extra material; I'm not sure they could do much with the videotape transfer, but providing more background and extra footage could have made this a more valuable video for your collection.
Dizzy Gillespie in Redondo makes for a very good hour of television, and fans will enjoy watching Gillespie and his band perform. However, the DVD release could have been better.
Review content copyright © 2011 James A. Stewart; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: MVD Visual
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 1986
MPAA Rating: Not Rated