Various: 20th Century Jazz Masters


(Herald rating: * * * *)

Jazz lovers haven't been well served by DVDs here, but this series and others are now imported by the small Southbound and they are diamonds.

This collection features a couple of major artists on each disc in television performance (often in black and white with camera crews intelligently following the soloists).

A recommended starter is the Modern Jazz Quartet (in 1962), the Dave Brubeck Quartet (1961, with saxophonist Paul Desmond) and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra (1968).

A hipster-cool and crewcutted Ralph J. Gleason conducts interviews, there's sophistication about MJQ and DBQ (Take Five, but Blue Rondo a la Turk fades abruptly into Gleason's closing chat and credits) and the orchestra swings. Great suits.

Label: Southbound

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