[JPL] Legends of Jazz on PBS

Peter Sokolowski psokolowski at merriam-webster.com
Tue Apr 11 11:47:03 EDT 2006


Hi folks:

I caught the episode with Clark Terry, Roy Hargrove, and Chris Botti this
past weekend on Hartford (CT) public TV.

The weird rotating and floating camera moves were distracting and just
shouted overproduction. Instead of saying "public TV" or "jazz" or even
"mature decision" it said "LOOK AT ME, I CAN SWIRL AROUND MUSICIANS WHO ARE
STANDING STILL." Annoying.

Ralph Gleason's fixed camera angles were much better (or has anyone seen
that TV special with Ellington and a small group in Scandinavia in the 60s
or the Clarke/Boland band with Carmen McRae from the late 60s in Germany --
fabulous shots and closeups with sensitivity).

It's puzzling that Ramsey Lewis doesn't play piano with the trumpeters on
their respective solo numbers -- what's he there for, anyway? (He does play
on the outgoing blues). The house rhythm section was excellent. There were
good honest moments, especially when Roy Hargrove lets out "What record
company is *that*??" after Botti recites his recent successes and the
freedom he is granted by Columbia (along the lines of "you make the record,
we'll worry about selling it" -- a bit disingenuous).

Clark is Clark -- Ramsey requested "Mumbles" but Clark got in some excellent
blues choruses on flugel before he started singing. Roy Hargrove played a
burning "Invitation" and sounded great.

And the controversial Chris Botti, recently crucified on the Trumpet
Player's International Network listserv, played his tail off on "My Funny
Valentine." Cat can play. I don't think he gets that hot or deep on his
records, but: cat can play. You try standing next to Clark and Roy, and THEN
showing your stuff. He did well.

Cheers,

Peter/WFCR substitute host

Peter A. Sokolowski
Associate Editor
Merriam-Webster, Inc
47 Federal Street
Springfield, MA 01105
(413) 734-3134 x 178

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