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.
Long before he had become pop music’s renaissance man, Quincy Jones was a trumpeter and bandleader whose titular big band was among the best large ensembles in jazz. The Quincy Jones Big Band appears here as part of a performance in France in 1961, and in addition to Q himself, you likely notice a few other famous faces among the band’s ranks, including Benny Bailey, Budd Johnson, Melba Liston, Phil Woods and Clark Terry. Musical fare for the evening covers Great American Songbook standards and bebop favorites, including Charlie Parker’s “Gypsy” and Art Blakey’s “Moanin.” Watch it here.
“I’m singing with my guitar,” says Samba Touré before finishing a song at the 2009 Banlieues Bleues Festival in France, finishing off with the exclamation, “that is the blues!” It is a fascinating idea, and one that Samba Touré illustrates by describing the distortion, the blues and the rock techniques that have long been a feature of North Malian village ceremonies, in a landscape completely separate from the Western conceptions of the genre. Watch it here.
Laura Mvula’s voice timbre, her unique writing, and her positioning between pop and R&B have made her a special case. Recorded at the Swiss Baloise Session festival in 2016, the British singer and keyboardist is promoting her second album, The Dreaming Room (with the collaboration of Nile Rodgers), the follow-up to Sing to the Moon in 2013. Watch it here.
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