I had the great fortune of seeing this event live and in living color right from inside the Hammerstein Ballroom. That was definitely one of the premiere moments in my life. I had the pleasure of having my picture taken with John Blackwell, an absolutely astounding musician, as well as a gentle and humble man.
The beauty of capturing this phenomena on tape (or plastic as the case may be) is that musicians or aspiring musicians can watch repeatedly some extraordinarily gifted, world class musicians at work. These performers sat down, put up a chart and just blew the piece right into orbit. No computers, no mixing or sampling, no over dubs or piped in sources, just 14 or 15 artists showing the world how it's done. I read in a Buddy Rich interview one time where the interviewer asked why Buddy didn't have his drums custom made as so many other "name" drummers do. Buddy's answer was to the effect "It all boils down to one thing, can you play the damn drum, or not?"
Too many kids today buy a computer with some software and all of a sudden they think they're musicians. That's nonsense. Buy this DVD, watch it, listen to the arrangements, the textures, the accents, the counter point - watch the drummers, then you may have a clue as to what real musicianship is all about.
5 stars all the way to the bank!