Geneva Concert

Randy Brecker

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Geneva Concert Review

by Joe Viglione

This concert video from August of 1994 contains seven intriguing selections by the master trumpet/fl├╝gelhorn player embellished by Niels Lan Doky's dazzling piano playing. Along with the fine audio from sound engineer Dominique Mion, director Patrick Savey makes sure that viewers get to see Randy Brecker's fingers move on his instrument, tight facial shots of the maestro, and beautiful fades into the other musicians. Drummer Alvin Queen plays with a soft authority that keeps the foundation vibrant alongside bassist Pierre Boussaguet. This DVD, recorded at the New Morning Jazz Festival in Geneva, opens with "On Green Dolphin Street"; there is no intro -- just the band falling into place with Weather Report-style rumblings that take shape within a few moments. The double image of Brecker performing is tastefully done, fading into the star front and center, then bringing up the other musicians and back to Brecker's twin images. It's unique, adventurous filming, as it reflects the controlled chaos the quartet issues so effortlessly. Brecker and crew, all receiving time to display their different talents inside the repertoire, take the packed house on a journey throughout the selections, concluding with a lengthy and exciting encore of "Blue Moon." There's an additional 17-minute film, directed by Daniel Farhi, that has Brecker in a variety of settings presenting his biography in his own words, with photos of his musical family and discussion of his playing, his time with Blood, Sweat & Tears, and the Brecker Brothers having their own club on Seventh Avenue South, followed by a rather intimate conclusion in which the artist states that music is his religion: "It's the core of my existence." There are no frills in the DVD case or other bonus extras, but none are needed. The concert is pure entertainment from start to finish and will beg repeated viewings, while the biography/portrait is both touching and revealing.

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