Serious jazz has always been somewhat of a persona-non-grata for mainstream radio stations. In recent years with the explosion of the so-called "soft-jazz" programming, which is nothing more than well-polished lounge music sprinkled with a mix of sax tunes, what serious music aficionados describe as "professional jazz" has been on decline. Unless you happen to live in a very large metropolitan area where there are still a few jazz clubs left struggling to make ends meet or, you live in a vital college town where the local university passionately supports its jazz department providing funding for live shows I would say chances are you are not seeing that many live jazz performances. Sad but true.
For those of you however living in the city of Montreux luckily the local Jazz Festival delivers what can be described as a healthy dose of quality jazz music. Which is where in 1998 Dutch-born alto saxophonist Candy Dulfer delivered a remarkable show mixing funk, jazz, soul, and a variety of other styles. Unlike many of her fellow colleagues, however, the manner in which Candy Dulfer mixes her music hopping from funk to pop to jazz actually works. She knows how to stay just a tad away from being too pop yet close enough to the jazz genre so that she could appeal to those that actually like their jazz in a more conventional, old-fashioned, form.
Like many others, I suppose, my fascination with Candy Dulfer began with her enormous European hit "Lily Was Here", part of her "Saxuality" album, where she teamed up with Dave Stewart from Eurythmics (the song consequently became a Top 10 UK hit). Add to the mix Candy Dulfer's enormously captivating stage presence and of course irresistible looks and I was quickly transformed into a die-hard fan. Ever since I have followed her career rather closely and though she hasn't been as active as she once was when she stopped at Montreux back in 2002 I made sure to book a plane ticket.
Courtesy of Eagle Rock Entertainment this very well put together DVD presents Candy Dulfer's 2002 show in Montreux and as a bonus feature we are offered a few selected performances from her famous 1998 show as well. While the newer 2002 show clearly unveils a more subtle, relaxed, and perhaps more mature saxophonist, the 1998 performances bring back memories of a wilder and in my opinion more intense Candy Dulfer (a newly arranged version of "Lily Was Here", of course without Dave Stewart, also appears in the bonus section).
Released individually as a CD, and now on DVD, Candy Dulfer's Live at Montreux 2002 show has the following track listing:
2. Omara's Dance
3. Longin' For The Funk
4. Lost And Gone
5. I'll Be Released
6. Do Watchu Like
8. Ooh Let's Go
Bonus (1988 Montreux show)
1. Saxy Mood
2. For The Love Of You
3. Lily Was Here
5. I Can't Make You Love Me
6. Pick Up The Pieces
It is worth pointing out that there is a slight difference between the CD release of the 2002 Montreux show and the actual DVD presentation. "Lost and Gone" appears only on the DVD release and "Pass the Peas", "Gimme Some More", and "2 Miles", appear only on the CD release.
How Does the DVD Look?
Crystal clear picture quality, deep and perfectly saturated colors, and an excellent camera work by the filming crew (I suppose the entire show was filmed with an HD-camera) transforms this DVD presentation into a solid product for which I have no reservations. There is hardly anything one could frown over as Eagle Rock have done simply a magnificent job. As far as the framing is concerned the main show is in approximately 1.78:1 and it is enhanced for widescreen TV's and the bonus 1998 show is in 1.33:1 OAR.
How Does the DVD Sound?
Excellent!! We are given the options of setting the audio to PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, or a DTS track. As you might guess I opted for the DTS track and am extremely pleased with the results. The producers of the DVD have done an excellent mixing job as balance and sound quality are simply impeccable.
As mentioned above the bonus section of the DVD is dedicated to live footage/selected performances from the 1998 show which Candy Dulfer performed in Montreux.
I absolutely adore Candy Dulfer and her music. I suppose I am not the only one as mega-star Prince has gone on record claiming that "every time I need sax I call for Candy". That should be enough of a testament for those unsure where Candy Dulfer and her music rank. As to those that already are well familiar with the irresistible blondie you simply have to have this excellent DVD in your collections. Especially considering the excellent price and even more impressive presentation!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.