Though there are only nine song titles that total about 49 minutes on this wonderful package of music from pianist Ben Sidran, part of the Music Video Distributors' Jazz Legends series, it is still an extraordinary set of sounds by the fellow who is more influential than he is known. The camera work is as elegant as the playing, featuring cuts to the hands and instruments along with tight facial shots. The artist opens the program up with a brief monologue titled "Cannes Jazz 1989," explaining his music and how he composes. "Let's Make a Deal," "Walking Blues" and "Be Nice" are among the performances by the man who calls himself "a piano player who sings." Director Stanley Dorfman does an admirable job of mixing the handheld cameras with those that are stationary -- interesting movement that contains unique action. Those multiple angles and cuts are many but do not get in the way of the music. Bonus tracks include a nine-page biography of Ben Sidran, a 13-title Sidran discography, a two-page bio for saxophonist Bob Rockwell along with his 17-title discography, and three pages for drummer Gordon Knudtson. There are an additional 26 chapters of music from Nina Simone, Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Anka, Willie Dixon, Duke Ellington and other artists, along with other DVD specials from MVD and Quantum Leap that have nothing to do with Sidran -- and are not advertised on the cover. A unique and welcome plus to this interesting and important release.
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