Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen [DVD]

The look and dress is total 1970s as the seven piece band of Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen romp through nine selections on this very short - forty-five minute and fifty-three second - 1979 tape of two concerts and interview footage featuring Kenny Ball. Producer and Director Ray Selfe does a better job with the interviews than the band footage, the camerawork sometimes shaky, sometimes not capturing all seven players. Even the track selection is bizarre, only four of the songs posted on the menu; the navigation on this particular DVD extremely difficult. Five of the "Jazzmen" contribute vocals on the traditional classic "I Shall Not Be Moved" combined in a medley with another African American spiritual, "Amen", bassist John Benson taking the lead voice. The band is in fine form through the course of this presentation, the horns a chirping, the piano providing a good foundation with the rhythm section. There's an impressive duel between the stand-up bass and banjo, these journeymen having fun, the basic visuals appearing as vintage as the music, music that rises above the film's deficiencies.There are two different concerts by Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen that are utilized for the live performances but with no liner notes or historical information on this 2008 DVD re-release we can only trust the closing credits which say "Made entirely on location in London by Finecord LTD 1979". David Meeker's book, "Jazz on The Screen", lists this as a 1979 film from the United Kingdom, crediting director Ray Selfe and noting the original title, And All That Jazz, which also appears embedded somewhere on this DVD. The biography on the Quantum Leap release from February, 2008, has Hugh Ledigo listed as pianist, but it is Duncan Smith on the tape as Kenny Ball names all the musicians during "When The Saints Go Marching In", including banjo player Tony Pitt who is left off of the biographies. The DVD credits Nick Millward on drums and vocals but the above referenced Meeker book credits Ron Bowden. The interview footage with Ball is excellent, historic and a highlight of this movie while the two concerts sound decent and - at the very least - survive for posterity. However, any good public access TV studio could have made a more intriguing and precise film of this important ensemble, Kenny Ball's years in the business and notoriety deserving a bit more care when it comes to the repackaging of his music.
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Overview

Special Features

  • Fanzone
  • Interview

Synopsis

Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen
Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen captures the popular musical combo performing a number of popular songs including "When the Saints Go Marching In," "Maryland, My Maryland," and "St. James Infirmary Blues." ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

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