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DVD: Eastwood - After Hours (1997)
Review Rating:   Good  
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Warner Bros.
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1 (NTSC)

March 12, 2002



Genre: Concert / Performaning Arts / Jazz  
Live concert jazz performance on October 17, 1996, at Carnegie Hall with Clint Eastwood and other celebrated musicians in a tribute to the music of the films of Clint Eastwood.  



Directed by:

Bruce Ricker
Screenplay by: Bruce Ricker,  Richard B. Woodward
Music by: Lennie Niehaus (conductor)
Produced by: Bruce Ricker

Clint Eastwood,  Joshua Redman,  Christian McBride,  Flip Phillips,  Charles McPherson,  James Rivers,  Slide Hampton,  Hank Jones,  Thelonious Monk, Jr.,  Kyle Eastwood Quartet,  Carnegie Hall Jazz Band

Film Length: 106 mins
Process/Ratio: 1.33:1
Anamorphic DVD: No
Languages: English Stereo
Special Features :  

Featurette: "Eastwood After Dark" (10:22)

Comments :

Although the 2-CD set of the concert was released on Malpaso/Warner Records in 1997, it seemed inevitable that such a stellar assembly of veteran and new blood jazz greats was videotaped for posterity - you just don't mount a gala tribute with Clint Eastwood as honoree, and not preserve the evening in some way.

Edited and released in a 106 minute video, the final product is a mixed blessing, with often abrupt movie clips (some with dialogue) and stills of jazz greats (without any captions for jazz novitiates) interrupting the performances. The music still plays, but part of the point in capturing a live event is to faithfully recreate it for the home viewer. The clips and stills do put some of the selected jazz standards in context - in terms of their appearance in Eastwood films - but cutting away from a musician experiencing a performance high is just wrong.

The basic Dolby Surround mix is pleasant, although the interrupted performances - particularly Eastwood's solo on the final "After Hours" piece - is better enjoyed on the unfettered CD. Most of the action occurs on the brightly lit stage, and only low-light audience shots - Eastwood in the balcony, and a few grainy wide shots of the hall - experience minor artifacting.

The musical sets are often bridged with segments from a post-concert interview with Eastwood in an empty soundstage, and the actor briefly reflects on key songs, film scores, performers, and composers, particularly trumpet player/Carnegie Hall Music Director John Faddis and composer/arranger/orchestrator par excellence Lennie Niehaus. Though both men have worked with Eastwood on film scores, the unifying gel is the late Jerry Fielding, a brilliant film composer who relied on Niehaus' orchestrating skills on numerous Eastwood and Sam Peckinpah-directed films in the seventies; Faddis joined the family in 1977, prominently performing on "The Gauntlet" soundtrack.

Warner's DVD contains brief text menus regarding the film and writer/producer/director Bruce Ricker, and a short documentary, "Eastwood After Dark," comprised of pre-concert Eastwood snippets from a Carnegie Hall press conference, and short hallway sound bites with the musicians. Son and bassist Kyle Eastwood (who performs a great set in the video with his own quartet) and Lennie Niehaus have a bit more time to speak about the evening's purpose, and while not deep on facts, the overall tone is warm and fuzzy.

© 2002 Mark R. Hasan

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