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Posted April 22, 2011
I must admit, while I have always appreciated the work of Michel Legrand, he has never been on the top of my list as one of the all-time jazz greats. To me, he has always been the jazz composer who wrote film scores and movie soundtracks, albeit very good ones. Now my opinion has changed, as this live DVD attests to the true scope of his talent. Backed by the London Big Band Orchestra, Legrand shows off his wares, delivering a stunning performance that starts with a bang and never lets up. Honestly, this is one of the best modern big band performances I have ever seen or heard.
The brilliance of the performance lies in Legrand's exuberance; he is alive and full of energy, so very into the music. His enthusiasm is infectious, and it is obvious and he and his band are having a blast. Later in the show, he is joined by guitar great Sylvain Luc and British pop singer Alison Moyet (formerly of Yaz). Their presence adds another layer of depth to the performance, yet the central focus is totally Legrand - he steals the show in every way possible.
My only complaint, and it is minor, is a distracting continuity error where closeups of the drummer show him missing a bow tie, which is present in the wide shots. Obviously some of the footage was taken from a different performance, and while it is not really a deal-breaker, it is a jarring visual to those of us who notice such minor trivial details. Rant over.