Jazz Shots From the East Coast, Vol. 1

These discs include rare, sometimes remarkable, sometimes routine performance footage of jazz greats such as Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Chet Baker, Art Pepper, and Bill Evans. You can see Monk performing his ”Blue Monk,” stabbing at the keyboard, making little wriggles at the piano bench, as though fearing his mighty instrument might attack him any moment, yet still supremely serene behind those famous sunglasses of his that look like their stems are made of bamboo shoots.

The East Coast/West Coast divisions — hey, what is Eforfilms trying to do, start some kind of hip-hop-style beef between factions? — sometimes seem arbitrary. Indeed, the liner notes acknowledge that some figures straddle the country. Lester Young, for example, ”was placed on the West Coast [disc] due to his especially strong influence on the generations of saxophonists from that coast.” Yet Young isn’t given a billed appearance on either disc, and his influence was felt from sea to shining sea. Both Jazz Shots From the East Coast and Jazz Shots from the West Coast suffer from a lack of information — no dates or locations of the performances, and the sound quality is occasionally (as on the single Roland Kirk appearance) atrocious. But with relatively little jazz available on DVD, these discs still qualify as must-sees: They bring adventurous jazz to life with coursing power.

Jazz Shots From the East Coast, Vol. 1
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