Rebels in Music

Whether it’s Elvis Presley during the primordial days of rock & roll, red hot jazz musicians creating fire in front of captive (and appreciative) audiences, or esteemed European composers who decide to perform interactive improvisations using bamboo tubes, horse hair, perfume bottles, and trumpet mouthpieces in a gallery auditorium, this week’s blog tallies up a series of great music-related DVDs, and some film music we’ve uploaded over the past two weeks.

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- an interview with British composer Murray Gold, whose second career as a playwright is sort of on pause as he continues to score the BBC’s brilliant new Doctor Who series, plus the spin-off shows Torchwood, and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

- a related review of Silva Screen’s excellent Doctor Who compilation CD, gathering selections from the first and second series.

- die Schachtel’s 2-CD + 1 DVD boxed set of music by the Guppo di improvvisazione nuova consonanza – Azioni 1967-69, featuring wild improvisations by Franco Evangelisti, Mario Bertoncini, Walter Branchi, John Heineman, Egisto Macchi, Roland Kayn, Ivan Vandor, Frederic Rzewski, and Ennio Morricone. Yes, Morricone, who spent some time sitting on the floor sputtering into a trumpet mouthpiece so he could discover and refine exotic sounds for his brilliant giallo scores. This deluxe boxed set also comes with a 1967 documentary by Theo Gellehr who played fly-on-the-wall as the group rehearsed and performed their work for a group of very polite people at Rome’s Gallery of Modern Art (some of whom also politely left, feeling their sinus cavities had been unceremoniously drained).

- A DVD review of New Orleans Music in Exile, Robert Mugge’s excellent documentary of musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina and the floods, filmed 2 months after the devastation, and released by Starz Home Entertainment.

- the beautifully mounted concert/biography Elvis: The Mini Series, with Golden Globe winner Jonathan Rhys Meyer as the King, Emmy nominees Camryn Manheim as Elvis’ mum, and Randy Quaid as the influential/manipulative Colonel Tom Parker. Featuring original Elvis recordings for the concert and recording scenes, Starz’ DVD features the complete 2-part mini-series which aired in 2005.

- and 3 great jazz DVD from MVD Visual: a 2-disc salute to the New Morning Jazz Club, packing 4 hours of diverse music from the club’s first 25 years; late tenor saxman Bob Berg with the Niels Lan Doky Trio at the New Morning in 1994, plowing through long, finely detailed songs; and legendary bassist Miroslav Vitous in a solo concert at Vienna’s Porgy & Bess club in 2004.

We’ve also snuck in a review of Disturbia, which maintains a really fun spin on Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window template of neighborly contempt transplanted to the suburbs, until director D.J. Caruso and screenwriters Christopher B. Landon & Carl Ellsworth tape a misstep, and completely fubar their movie.


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