Meshell Ndegeocello, Elvin Jones, Ella Fitzgerald: What to Watch on Qwest TV This Weekend

Qwest TV is the world’s first subscription video-on-demand platform dedicated to jazz and its neighboring genres. Founded by legendary producer and impresario Quincy Jones and French television producer Reza Ackbaraly, the website serves as an online library of jazz concert videos and feature documentaries that are, by and large, unavailable anywhere else on the web. In that capacity, it has been called the “Netflix of jazz.” 

Like Netflix, Qwest TV offers plenty of binge-worthy material, including live concert recordings from festivals as prestigious as the Montreux Jazz Festival and Jazz à Vienne, masterclasses by today’s leading musicians and rare historical footage. In this “What to Watch” feature, we share our top recommendations for what Qwest TV has to offer each week. Some videos may require a Qwest TV subscription, and fortunately, memberships start for as low as $9.99 per month. Click here to start your subscription today. 

Meshell Ndegeocello Live at Banlieues Blues Festival

For the 33rd edition of the Banlieues Blues Festival, Meshell Ndegeocello, one of the architects of the contemporary funk and R&B sound, performs material from her 2014 album Comet, Come To Me as well as some poignant covers of tunes by Nina Simone and Leonard Cohen. Watch it here.

Elvin Jones’ Jazz Machine: Live at Theaterhaus Stuttgart 1991

Elvin Jones, the former rhythm engine behind John Coltrane’s classic quartet from the 1960s, formed the group Jazz Machine in the late 1980s with Willie Pickens, Sonny Fortune, Chip Jackson and John’s son, Ravi Coltrane, on tenor sax. The group appears in Germany as part of its 1991 European tour showing raw strength, indefatigable energy and abundant technical prowess. The set includes Elvin’s originals and even a tune by the drummer’s brother, the pioneering trumpeter Thad Jones. Watch it here.

Ella Fitzgerald Live in Brussels: RTBF Archive 1957

The First Lady of Song takes to the stage in Brussels at the height of her career for a set of classic Great American Songbook fare. Joining for this delightfully swinging evening is piano wizard Oscar Peterson, who fronts a band including Jo Jones, Herb Ellis and Ray Brown. Stately, elegant, heartfelt and sincere, this is the perfect snapshot of jazz in the ’50s. Watch it here.

Baba Zula & Ziya Azazi: Live at Les Escales de Saint-Nazaire

What we are seeing is about more than the so-named ‘Istanbul Psychedelia’ that the pair partake in. Aside from questions of style, it is a music with a definite, controversial message at the source. Forbidden on the airways in their native country, this is a sound that seeks to support popular revolt, and to evoke dreams of a brighter future. Watch it here.

Feature image of Quincy Jones courtesy of Qwest TV

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