FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
“The release of Jazz Icons™ is like the unearthing of a musical time capsule—an audio-visual treasure trove of the music that changed the world. From Big Band and Bebop to Dixieland and Cool, it’s all here and it all swings. These jazz legends, from Dizzy and Count to Louis and Ella, are the Bachs and Beethovens of our generation. From an educational standpoint this series is a gift to our culture. I’m honored to be a featured part of it, but I’m more thrilled just to sit down and watch it with my grandkids.”
JULY 17, 2006- A major event is about to take place in the world of Jazz—the release of the Jazz Icons™ DVD Series featuring filmed concerts by the most pivotal and influential jazz artists of the 20th century. Filmed in Europe between 1957 and 1978, the Jazz Icons™ DVDs feature the greatest legends of jazz captured in their prime and accompanied by some of the most legendary side-musicians of the day. Lost in the vaults of European television studios (in some cases for nearly 50 years!), Reelin’ In The Years Productions and TDK Recording Media Europe S.A. are proud to announce the September 26, 2006 release of the first nine titles of the illustrious series featuring 60-90 minute performances by Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Count Basie, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, Buddy Rich and Chet Baker. All nine Jazz Icons™ DVD titles are distributed by Naxos Of America and sold separately.
Each of the nine Jazz Icons™ DVDs features one or more concerts filmed live in television studios and concert halls throughout Europe during one of the most creative periods in jazz history (the majority of the material being filmed between 1957 and 1966). None of these performances has ever been officially released, and in many cases, the material was never originally broadcast. In addition, every performance in the Jazz Icons™ DVD series has been re-transferred and re-mastered from the best-quality, original masters yielding excellent sound and video. As with last year’s phenomenal discovery of the Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane At Carnegie Hall concert, which went on to sell over 200,000 CDs, this series is also a major find and treasure to the world of recorded and filmed jazz music. To quote noted jazz writer and historian Ira Gitler (author of The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz), “These nine historic DVDs are among the most important visual/aural documents to be discovered in the history of Jazz. Now, most importantly, they are available to the entire world.
”Among the wealth of highlights in the Jazz Icons™ DVD series are two incredible Quincy Jones concerts (filmed in 1960) featuring an 18-piece band that Quincy later described as his “dream band,” which included some of the finest musicians in jazz—Phil Woods, Clark Terry & Sahib Shihab. Another highlight is a staggering one hour Art Blakey concert with what many jazz historians consider to be his most important ensemble, the legendary 1958 Jazz Messengers with Lee Morgan, Benny Golson, Bobby Timmons and Jymie Merritt – a lineup that was only together for six months. The Jazz Icons™ series also features two exceptional concerts of Ella Fitzgerald including the earliest known complete Ella show (filmed in Belgium in 1957) and an intimate in-studio appearance from 1963 taped in Sweden with pianist Tommy Flanagan. Also featured in the series are two superb 1966 concerts from Thelonious Monk filmed three days apart in Norway and Denmark.
Further concerts recently discovered for the Jazz Icons™ DVD series include a riveting hour-long Count Basie show from Sweden taped in 1962 featuring the phenomenal drumming of Sonny Payne. Dizzy Gillespie is represented by two historic concerts: the first from 1958 in Belgium with a quintet including saxophonist Sonny Stitt, and the second from 1970 in Denmark fronting the legendary Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band. The Buddy Rich DVD boasts a thunderous 1978 concert taped in Holland and featuring members of Buddy’s “Killer Force,” the group he would later call “the best band I ever had.” Chet Baker is represented by two concerts filmed 15 years apart including a haunting 1964 show in a Belgian TV studio and a soulful 1979 set from Norway (together they provide an overview of Baker’s career.) Rounding out the DVD series is one of the only known complete Louis Armstrong concerts from the 1950s to be captured on film. This 1959 concert, filmed in Belgium and backed by his stellar band, the All-Stars, captures the great man in all his glory as both a jazz pioneer and an entertainer without peer.
Every DVD in the Jazz Icons™ series is produced with the full support and cooperation of the artists or their estates. In addition, each musician on stage is being paid (either directly or through the American Federation Of Musicians.) Each DVD also includes a 16-page booklet with an extensive essay written by an established jazz writer and historian (Ira Gitler, Michael Cuscuna, Will Friedwald, Rob Bowman and others) In addition, each booklet includes previously unseen photos and memorabilia. In many cases the artists or heirs to the estate have provided rare never-before-seen artifacts or contributed forewords.
Producers of the series, David Peck and Phil Galloway, said of Jazz Icons™, “We’re proud to be able to share this historic and unseen footage with the world and since we’ve discovered even more concerts in these vaults, we are looking forward to releasing additional titles in the future.
”Reelin’ In The Years Productions LLC is the largest music footage library in the world, housing over 10,000 hours of performances from all genres of music covering the last 50 years. Most of the footage in their library has never been seen or heard by the world at large. Reelin’ In The Years Productions’ The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1969 three volume DVD series has received critical acclaim, commercial success and numerous industry awards. Volume One was nominated for a GRAMMY® award in the category of “Best Long Form Music Video,” and Volume One and Two received The Blues Foundation’s prestigious 2004 Keeping The Blues Alive (KBA) Award as well as Honorable Mention in Mojo Magazine’s Honors List for best DVD of 2003. Other DVD releases include Muddy Waters Classic Concerts and the legendary concert film Soul To Soul. 2006 saw the release of Marvin Gaye – The Real Thing In Performance 1964 – 1981 DVD, the first official DVD anthology of classic archival television performances by a Motown artist, and in autumn of 2006 will see the release of The Temptations – Get Ready, The Definitive Performances 1965 – 1972 DVD. In addition, Reelin’ In The Years Productions has provided footage for numerous DVDs including the platinum-selling Led Zeppelin, AC/DC – Family Jewels and The Police – Synchronicity Concert.
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