Erroll Garner In Performance (1964)
"We're proud to present one of the true originals, one of the great men of jazz: Erroll Garner."- Steve Race
Stars: Erroll Garner
Other Stars: Eddie Calhoun, Kelly Martin, Steve Race
MPAA Rating: Not RatedRun Time: 01h:11m:27s
Release Date: 2002-07-02
DVD ReviewThe lazy left hand plunking out the rhythm, as the right hand carries the melody—Erroll Garner's signature style at the piano is unmistakable. Garner probably achieved his greatest acclaim as the composer of Misty, one of the most-performed songs of all time—just ask Clint Eastwood. But the true pleasure of Garner's work are not his compositons, but his performances. He lacks the hard bebop edge of Dizzy Gillespie, but then he's more adventurous than the melodious stylings of someone likes Oscar Peterson. And he sure can make the keys dance.
This disc offers two 1964 installments of a BBC music series called Jazz 625, hosted by Steve Race, who seems like fodder for a future Mike Myers movie—yeah, baby. Basically Race introduces Garner's trio (Eddie Calhoun on bass, Kelly Martin on drums), and lets them go to it. Garner is obviously working incredibly hard, as we see the perspiration streaming down his face, yet his French cuffs remain nattily in place as his fingers fly. The BBC directors weren't content merely to hold back the camera—the good news about this is that we're treated to many tight shots of Garner's hands at work. The bad news: the dollying in and out can make the viewer a little queasy. In many respects, this is a disc better heard than seen.
It's a pleasure to see Garner communicating with the other musicians, but he's got basically nothing at all to say to his audience. But watching him do his thing—or, rather, listening to him—is more than enough. Here's your set list:
Just One of Those Things
What Is This Thing Called Love
Spring Is Here / It Might As Well Be Spring
No More Shadows
Jeannine (I Dream of Lilac Time)
On The Street Where You Live / I Could Have Danced All Night
The Lady Is A Tramp
Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: A-
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: It's lovely to see these performances, released for the first time in the U.S., but as with many television programs produced during this era, this wasn't made to last, and it shows. The blacks and whites are all rather gray, and the resolution is poor. Some of the nice photographic work holds up, though, like the reflection of Garner's hands on the black of the piano.
Image Transfer Grade: C
Audio Transfer Review: It's the music that matters here, of course, and the 2.0 track sounds pretty good, if not quite up to the level of Garner's own studio recordings of the time. The dynamics are respectable, and the mix is nice, offering Garner's piano just enough support from the rest of the trio. There's a certain amount of hiss and crackle, but it would be unreasonable to expect anything else.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Music/Song Access with 23 cues and remote access
- audio recording of Misty, with a Garner photo gallery
Extras Grade: C+
Final CommentsFind the cocktail shaker, darling, and come enjoy the smooth piano stylings of one of the mid-century jazz masters. The program here isn't cinematically inventive, but it's a pleasure to see and especially to hear Garner at the height of his powers.
Jon Danziger 2002-10-31