Once the initial shock of a marriage between jazz and syndicated television wears off, we're left with a pleasant document of a star-studded evening of musicmaking.
Once the initial shock of a marriage between jazz and syndicated television wears off, we’re left with a pleasant document of a star-studded evening of musicmaking. But rather than turn on legions of Clint Eastwood fans to the beauty and power of jazz, it’ll probably have the reverse effect — jazz fans looking to see the role music plays in Clint’s pics.
Perfs are pulled from a concert held Oct. 17, 1996 at Carnegie Hall, which Malpaso/Warners issued as a two-CD set last year. Docu follows a tidy and enlightening format with soloists intermingled with scenes from Eastwood pics such as “Play Misty for Me,” “The Gauntlet” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” Eastwood then offers commentary ranging from his personal taste to historical anecdotes to the accurate assessment that jazz works well when the musicians remember to have fun.
Show starts with a gorgeous piano duet from Kenny Barron and Barry Harris on “Misty”; that tone is carried throughout as suites and ballads dominate the program. Musicianship is sturdy throughout if not necessarily arresting.
The expanse of Eastwood’s work as a producer in jazz-related works — “Bird” and the Thelonious Monk docu “Straight No Chaser” for example — get solid play, and saxophonists James Carter and Joshua Redman set off considerable fireworks with a rousing “chase” sequence on Charlie Parker’s “Now’s the Time.”