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.
Hip-hop icon Lauryn Hill has long been a favorite of jazz artists, owing mostly to her melodic flow, punchy delivery, crystal-clear voice and soulful stage presence. It’s all on fine display in this 2018 concert at the Baloise Session stage in Basel, Switzerland. The concert was held as a celebration of the 20th anniversary of her breakout album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which cemented her reputation as a rapper and singer to be reckoned with and effectively set her on a course toward hip-hop stardom. This concert has all the swagger of that debut album, which tackled the social issues of its time. Twenty years later, it takes on a considerably sharper edge as its themes are applied to the politics of our present moment. Watch it here.
Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis first burst onto the scene in the 1980s, showing virtuosic talent and enthusiasm for renewing the jazz tradition. Before long, he was being heralded as the new face of straightahead jazz. His performance here at Munich’s Philharmonic Hall in 1992 carries plenty of that fresh-faced momentum, but it also evinces a musician who has had time to craft a formidable and unique voice. He appears with a septet in a concert that pays homage to the African American church, and the music is indeed infused with soul: joyous yet solemn, sacred yet swinging. Watch it here.
In this Qwest TV original, drummer Questlove — the rhythm engine behind such ensembles as The Roots and the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon band — lays everything bare in a wide-ranging interview that touches on everything from his first musical influence to the state of U.S. politics. Questlove is as engaging a speaker as he is a drummer, and this intimate interview flows with the same captivating rhythmic drive he brings to the stage. Watch it here.
From the late 1950s into the early ’60s, Dave Brubeck’s Quartet — with Paul Desmond on alto saxophone, Joe Morello on drums and Eugene Wright on bass — practically set the standard for cool jazz. The group’s 1959 album Time Out remains one of jazz’s most popular recordings, and it’s standout single, “Take Five,” has become a worldwide musical sensation. This concert from 1965 comes just six years after that landmark album, and the music suggests that the group has gotten even tighter and more adventurous. The swing is crisp and the melodies unfurl in great gusts of energy, but overall, the vibe remains one of effortless cool and sophistication. Watch it here.