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Carlos Santana Presents: Blues at Montreux 2004

Eagle Vision // Unrated // October 17, 2006
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Louis Howard | posted December 1, 2006 | E-mail the Author
Like many artists, Carlos Santana has always seen the blues as a vital component of his music and has employed that genre in his work throughout the decades. While most prominently known for his Latin guitar sound, he can also play the blues with the best of 'em. In July 2004 at the Montreux Festival he was given the opportunity to present as well as perform with three legendary bluesmen who are among his favorites- Buddy Guy, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Bobby Parker. Each artist plays a full concert set, being joined by Santana as well as other guests such as Nile Rodgers and Barbara Morrison.

Buddy Guy is a long revered blues guitarist, having fronted bands as well as backing Muddy Waters and Junior Wells. Here he takes the stage without his trademark Stratocaster, opting for an acoustic guitar. He delves back into the acoustic roots of the blues, opening with a wonderful rendition of the staple "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" as well as covering such as "Louie McGhee" and "Done Got Old". When Buddy plugs in his electric guitar later in the set is when things really start to get loud, working with some classic tunes such as "Hoochie Coochie Man" and "Fever', the oft-covered song originally associated with bluesman Little Willie John. Guest guitarist Carlos Santana hits the stage to assist in rousing renditions of "I've Got My Mojo Working", "Drifter" and Grape Jelly", then is joined by Nile Rodgers for "Okie Dokie Stomp".

In blues music Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown is sacred. While he is revered as an elder statesman of the genre, he sees his work as "American music"- Texas style". Louisiana-born and raised in Texas, he learned to play guitar and the fiddle from his father, a railroad worker and after serving in the U.S. Army began to make his career in music. He was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall Of Fame in and won a Grammy award for the 1982 album "Alright Again". Brown passed away in September, 2005, but here you see the 80 year old wonder giving a fine performance before succumbing to emphysema and lung disease.

Bobby Parker is a curious musician who can do it all, writing wonderful songs, playing powerful guitar and giving fans a great singling voice to accompany his material. He is likely best-known for his 1961 song, "Watch Your Step," a single for the V-Tone label that became a hit on British and U.S. R&B charts, and has been sited as a major influence by artist the likes of Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Jimmy Page, Spencer Davis, Robin Trower, John Lennon and Santana, who did his own take on "Watch Your Step" on his "Havana Moon" album. Carlos has gone on record as saying that Parker is the man who inspired him to play guitar, so his inclusion as one of the performers here is a no brainer. His blues is a soul soaked blend recalling the likes of Bobby Bland and James Brown.

Here is a list of all three performers' concerts and the songs performed in each set-

Disc One - Bobby Parker

1. Straight Up No Chaser
2. Break It Up
3. Breaking Up Somebody's Home
4. Nothing But the Blues
5. So Glad I Found You
6. I Ain't Superstitious
7. It's Unfair
8. Going Down Slow
9. Chill Out (feat Carlos Santana)
10. Mellow Down Easy (feat Carlos Santana)
11. Watch Your Step (feat Carlos Santana)

Disc Two - Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown

1. Bits and Pieces
2. Strange Things Happen
3. I'm Beginning to See the Light
4. Sunrise Cajun Style
5. Honey Boy
6. Further On Up the Road
7. I've Got My Mojo Working (feat Carlos Santana & Buddy Guy)
8. Drifter (feat Carlos Santana)
9. Grape Jelly (feat Carlos Santana)
10. Okie Dokie Stomp (feat Carlos Santana & Niles Rogers)

Disc Three - Buddy Guy

1. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
2. Louise McGhee
3. Done Got Old
4. Hoochie Coochie Man
5. Fever
6. Drowning on Dry Land
7. Stormy Monday (feat Carlos Santana)
8. Jam Session 1 (feat Carlos Santana & Buddy Parker)
9. So Many Roads So Many Trains (feat Carlos Santana & Bobby Parker)
10. Jam Session 2 (feat Carlos Santana, Niles Rogers & Bobby Parker)

Founded in 1967, the Montreux Jazz Festival has established itself as one of the most prestigious music events in the world. The extraordinary list of artists who have played there over the last 30 years is drawn from across the musical spectrum. With the consent of both the festival and the artists, Eagle Vision is making these concerts available for the first time on DVD. While a statement like this could be construed as hype by many, the list of concert DVDs the company has already released is indeed diverse and star-studded. This reviewer has already watched and/or written reviews of Montreux performances by the likes of Eric Clapton, Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, Alice Cooper, The Jeff Healy Band, James Brown, Candy Dulfer, Suzanne Vega, Nina Simone, Ray Charles, David Sanborn, Joe Sample, Marcus Miller, Bonnie Raitt, Ella Fitzgerald, Canned Heat.....the list goes on and on. With three decades of great musicians and performances in the vaults I'm hopeful there will be many more gems like this to come.


Aspect ratio for the set is listed as 16x9 Screen Format. All three shows look very good; imaging is sharp with solid blacks and accurate colors.


Eagle Vision has been doing some wonderful work in regards to the sonic aspect of their Live At Montreux series. The choices available here are Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS Surround Sound and PCM Stereo. The 5.1 and DTS tracks here are excellent; spacious and clear with plenty of depth at the lower end, these discs certainly sine in the sonic department.


No extras.

Final Thoughts-

Clocking in at a whopping 237 minutes, there is plenty of great blues guitar work on display here for anyone. All three of the discs contain fine performances by some true legends in in the game, and while one is bound to have preferences within the set, the low MSRP for three full concerts is incentive for anyone who enjoys blues to have this release on their shelves. Recommended.
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