Aaron Neville-Nature Boy: The Standards Album (DVD-Audio) (2004) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Apr-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Booklet-Aaron Neville On Nature Boy
Interviews-Cast-Aaron Neville On Nature Boy (7:11)
Gallery-Photo
Biographies-Cast
Discography
Credits
DVD Credits
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 49:14
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor
Verve
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Aaron Neville
Case DVD-Audio Jewel
RPI $34.95 Music Various


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
English MLP 48/24 5.1
English MLP 48/24 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The continuing limited release schedule of DVD Audio from Universal Pictures Home Video sees the latest album from the multi-Grammy winner Aaron Neville become available. I never really got into his music, which over the course of a very lengthy career (roughly forty years) has veered across more genres than most. His Grammy Awards came in pop and country music, but he has also made a name for himself in blues, funk, gospel and R & B. Given that he hails from New Orleans, I suppose it was inevitable that he eventually turned to jazz - and Nature Boy is the result.

    Nature Boy sees Aaron Neville turning back to his youth and the times he listened to the music of the day courtesy of his parents and grandparents. Those songs he listened to are today the standards of the genre and so most of them will be familiar to us all. However, Aaron Neville certainly is never one to shy away from stamping his own authority on the music, and so we have probably never heard these standards presented in quite this sort of manner.

    The music includes such gems as Summertime and Our Love Is Here To Stay from the Gershwins and In The Still Of The Night from Cole Porter, amongst others. But whilst the songs might be very familiar, the interpretations are anything but. However, whilst Aaron Neville adds his almost unique interpretations to the vast list of previous incarnations, the interpretations are not going to be to everyone's tastes.

    Fans will probably lap this up, but not being a fan I found them a little uninspiring. The presentation lacks something in the way of dynamic and that is ultimately where opinions will be divided over this. To me, this really was little more than high-class background music. Nonetheless, even as high-class background music this still has some worth. Sure it won't be something that would return to my player on a regular basis, but sometimes you just need some nice, pleasant background music - and for those occasions, this is very nice stuff indeed. Truth be told though, they surely could have come up with more music than the 49 minutes odd that we have here. It never ceases to amaze me that despite the death of vinyl and the fact that CD can hold about 78 minutes of music, we still get albums released that feature the roughly 50 minute standard that was common during the vinyl LP era...

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Track Listing

1. Summertime
2. Blame It on My Youth
3. The Very Thought of You
4. The Shadow of Your Smile
5. Cry Me a River
6. Nature Boy
7. Who Will Buy?
8. Come Rain or Come Shine
9. Our Love is Here to Stay
10. In the Still of the Night
11. Since I Fell for You
12. Danny Boy

Transfer Quality

Video

    The only video on the disc is in the extras, with everything else being stills. There is nothing at all wrong with the presentation of these.

Audio

    There are four soundtrack options on the disc. DVD Audio equipped persons can choose from 48kHz/24-bit MLP Advanced Resolution Sound efforts in 5.1 and 2.0 formats. DVD Video equipped persons can choose from 448 Kb/s Dolby Digital efforts in 5.1 and 2.0 formats. The language option in all cases is of course English. I listened to the MLP 5.1 soundtrack in its entirety, and extensively sampled the other three soundtracks.

    The first soundtrack checked out was in fact that MLP Advanced Resolution Surround Sound six channel effort. It is very nice. It is very tastefully done, presenting a nice clean, clear sound. It is very smooth, quite refined and very laid back jazzy type stuff. In other words, the pretentious garbage that I hate so much about jazz. Jazz is supposed to be a dynamic sound, a sound out of the streets, not this refined pap that borders on muzak. There is virtually no dynamic in the recording at all so everything sort of blends together making this a tedious 49 minutes of listening. The whole mix is very pleasant, with minimal bass and a nice background music feel from everything, The only time it really steps out of that is during the odd instrumental solo, such as during Blame It On My Youth. The surround encoding is very tastefully done, with little more than background effects in the rear channels and the vocals mainly straight front and centre. The front surrounds just flesh out the sound a little. I just wish that there was some dynamic here.

    The DVD-Audio MLP 2.0 soundtrack is in its own right a very nice effort too. It has some surround encoding in it, mainly evidenced through some bass coming out in the mix. It is a lovely clear sound that funnily enough has a bit more dynamic - with the result that it is a much easier soundtrack to listen to. Frankly, I would rate it the better soundtrack on the disc and would be the preferred way to listen to the songs, even though it can descend to being quite bland at times. Detail seems to be a bit better in the mix.

    The DVD-Video compatible Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is the disappointment on the disc. Once again there is way too much bass in the mix and it destroys the style of the music completely. The overemphasis of the bass in the mix tends to result in a bit too much resonance in the sound and drowns out somewhat the effect that Aaron Neville would presumably be trying to achieve, as evidenced by the minimal bass included in the MLP soundtracks. The opening track Summertime is by far the worst affected on the disc. Overall, the surround channel use is much less subtle, again seemingly in opposition to the effect that would be striven for by the style of singing.

    The DVD-Video compatible Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is a much more pleasant effort, due to the lack of significant bass included in the mix. It is probably not quite as bland a sound as the MLP 2.0 soundtrack. There is some surround encoding here, nothing too extravagant, although perhaps on occasions getting just a little out of hand. On the evidence here, the style of sound that was trying to be achieved is much better handled in stereo rather than surround.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Again, it looks better on paper than it is in reality.

Booklet

    An eight page effort that once again is hardly worth the effort. Mainly credits and some pictures, this really badly needs something to make it worthwhile.

Interviews - Cast - Aaron Neville On Nature Boy (7:11)

    Split up into seven sections, this is not exactly a hugely satisfying experience. A proper, more cohesive interview would have been better value. The presentation is Full Frame, not 16x9 enhanced and with reasonable Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. It suffers somewhat from obvious aliasing during the footage shot in the recording studio.

Gallery - Photo

    Eleven photos in all, of good quality.

Biography - Cast

    Nine (shortish) pages of notes about the man and the recording.

Discography

    I don't believe that this is a comprehensive discography, which is a pity. The presentation is quite good - click on the thumbnail of the album and you are taken to a page with a bigger picture of the album cover, a track listing and a sound bite from one of the tracks off the album. Nicely done.

Credits

    Several pages of them, including one for each song when in DVD Audio mode, replicating the entry in the booklet.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This is the same disc as released worldwide.

Summary

    Nice, quite nice. Unfortunately, that is about the best summation I can come up with for the disc. It certainly does not inspire me, certainly does not repulse me but really does not make me want to rush out and play it again. Everything is just nice, if at times all a little bland. Fans will love it, the rest would be best advised to sample before buying. Technically, the disk is...quite nice.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE