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Mr. DS Graham "daniel_sgraham" (London, UK)

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In Philadelphia 1960 with Steve Lacy
In Philadelphia 1960 with Steve Lacy
Price: £11.44

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monk and Lacy on Record Together At Last!, 25 Aug. 2006
The Philharmonic Hall concert of 1963 aside, this is the first CD I know of that has Steve Lacy, Monk's most patient and devoted disciple, playing in one of Monk's bands. Lacy played with Monk for 16 weeks in the summer of 1960, after months of Lacy 'bugging' him (Lacy's description), and this CD includes three tracks of the Thelonious Monk Quintet which includes Charlie Rouse on Tenor Saxophone. Rouse sounds completely at ease with the material and is perhaps the more confident of the two hornmen, but Lacy's dry, precise and methodical excavation of Monk's material is wonderfully inventive - playing around the melody and the changes with both rhythmic creativity and puckish delight. This must have been a pretty special time for the soprano saxophonist. In fact Lacy recounted that during his four month tenure with Thelonious, they played 'Epistrophy' every night but differently on each occasion. Perhaps the ultimate irony is that Louis Armstrong - the figurehead of Jazz until Charlie Parker and a vocal critic of the New Music - drowns out Lacy's solo on 'Rhythm-A-Ning', leaving us only two Lacy solos with Monk at the piano. Shouldn't forget to mention that the drummer is none other than Roy Haynes. What a band!

The rest of this CD is comprised of more rare, live material of various versions of Monk's bands including an appearance on the Steve Allen TV Show with Hank Mobley on Tenor, Charles Mingus on bass and Art Blakey on drums(!). Art Farmer, Lucky Thompson, Thad Jones and Billy Higgins appear on the other live tracks also. Almost too good to be true. The only drawback, as is to be expected from recordings of this vintage, is the poor audio fidelity. 'In Philadelphia 1960' is cleaner and more balanced than the 'Olatunji Concert' of John Coltrane on Impulse but not as rich and full as the 'One Down, One Up' rediscovery (also Impulse!). Overall though, not bad at all.

'In Philadelphia 1960' must be counted as a major discovery, not just for the 'Dead Sea Scrolls' encounter between Lacy and Monk but for the astonishing roll call of jazz greats who also appear on this CD. Don't hesitate - Buy!

Nostalgia [DVD]
Nostalgia [DVD]
Dvd ~ Oleg Yankovskiy

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Nostalgia" plus 2 rare documentaries, 11 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Nostalgia [DVD] (DVD)
This DVD edition of "Nostalgia" comes with two rare documentaries made at the time of the film's production. "Tempo di Viaggio" and "Tarkovsky In Nostalgia". Both offer fascinating insight into Tarkovsky's working method and include footage of him talking with Italian script-writing maestro Tonino Guerra, who has worked with Fellini, Antonioni and Angelopolous.
The picture quality of the film is excellent but there is a major drawback regarding the soundtrack. For the first 30 minutes of the film (Disc 1), there is a distractingly audible crackle and hiss noise. This is completely unacceptable in a DVD format and I am very curious to know if other buyers have experienced a similar problem with their copy.
Apart from this serious fault, "Nostalgia" plus 2 documentaries is a most welcome addition to the Tarkovsky DVD library.

Fanny and Alexander [DVD] [1982]
Fanny and Alexander [DVD] [1982]
Dvd ~ Bertil Guve
Offered by redbooks
Price: £55.00

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bergman's stunning remembrance of childhood finally on DVD, 5 Mar. 2002
Ingmar Bergman's multi-award winning film "Fanny & Alexander" is captured for the first time on DVD, and in it's complete 5 hour version. Widely considered his masterpiece, and for good reason, "Fanny & Alexander" is a magical depiction of childhood and family life, as told through the eyes of a young brother and sister whose parents are a renowned Theatre director and actress in Sweden circa 1900. Shot by the great Sven Nykvist, who won his second Oscar for Cinematography (the other was "Cries & Whispers"), "Fanny & Alexander" is a film of enduring warmth, humanity and humour and is in many ways the best introduction to Ingmar Bergman's work I could imagine. A stunning masterpiece rightfully presented in it's full glory on a crisply balanced DVD transfer, "Fanny & Alexander" is a treasure to behold.

Solaris [DVD]
Solaris [DVD]
Dvd ~ Natalya Bondarchuk
Offered by SmokeCDs
Price: £24.90

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A spiritual milestone in the history of cinema, 11 Feb. 2002
This review is from: Solaris [DVD] (DVD)
SOLARIS remains Tarkovsky's most spiritually intense film - an unparalleled achievement that quietly gathers force with each passing year. Entirely devoid of the glibness and hip irony that cripples much of today's cinema, SOLARIS is an unapologetically earnest and sincere attempt to explore the state of the human soul and the redemptive powers of simple, human love.
The DVD transfer is very good, but without knowing the condition of the print used or the technical details of the transfer, one can't really make a judgement. Suffice to say, it's superior to the VHS editions I have seen and is presented in its original aspect ratio. The extra features are fascinating and include present day interviews with actress Natalya Bondarchuk, Tarkovsky's sister and a late sixties featurette on lead actor Donatis Banionis (a revered stage actor). There's also an original trailer/promo spot for Mirror, with a glimpse of Tarkovsky himself, and some good production stills on Disc 2. The major complaint here though, derives from the ridiculous decision to put the film itself onto 2 discs. Why not place the film in its entirety onto disc one and the extra features onto disc two as most other companies do?
In summary, if you don't mind flipping discs halfway through, and you're as continually amazed and moved by the cinematic power of Andrei Tarkovsky, then buy this DVD now!!
Daniel S Graham
Sydney, Australia

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