A little more than three years ago, Reelin’ In The Years Productions, in conjunction with Naxos of America, Inc., released its first set of Jazz Icons DVDs. It was a great idea well executed. Basically the set comprised nine DVDs, each featuring vintage live-performance video of a different jazz artist. Titles included “Thelonious Monk: Live in ’66,” “Ella Fitzgerald: Live in ”57 and ’63,” “Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Live in ’58″ and so forth. To the serious jazz connoisseur – and even to more casual fans – this was, at best, invaluable stuff and, at least, wonderfully entertaining. A year later, in September 2007, a second series was released, this one an eight-disc affair featuring rare concert footage of Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Wes Montgomery, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus. A third series came a year later, another eight DVDs featuring the likes of Oscar Peterson, Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Lionel Hampton and Nina Simone. Now, with the passing of another year, comes the fourth set of Jazz Icon DVDs. As with the DVDs in the other sets, the new releases will be available for purchase separately or together in a boxed set. (A bonus DVD is available only in the box.)
Here’s the latest titles: “Jimmy Smith: Live in ’69,” “Coleman Hawkins: Live in ’62 & ’64,” “Art Farmer: Live ’64,” “Erroll Garner: Live in ’63 & ’64,” “Woody Herman: Live in ’64,” “Art Blakey: Live in ’65″ and “Anita O’Day: Live in ’63 & ’70.” The bonus disc included in the boxed set features additional performances by Hawkins, Garner and Smith. All of this footage has been completely out of circulation for decades. Much of it was laying forgotten in the vaults of the various European television stations that broadcast the performances in the first place. Some of it was never broadcast at all. In any case, every performance in the Jazz Icons series has been re-mastered resulting in excellent sound and video quality, and each disc is accompanied by detailed liner notes.
For more information, go to www.jazzicons.com.
Photo above of Coleman Hawkins courtesy of Jan Persson/ctsimages.com.