Ella Fitzgerald-Live at Montreux 1969 (1969)

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Released 6-Nov-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1969
Running Time 66:27
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By None Given
Montreux Sounds
Rajon Vision
Starring Ella Fitzgerald
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.29:1 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

    Ella Fitzgerald is considered by many to be the greatest singer ever, certainly in jazz, if not popular music generally. Accordingly, I was very keen to review this live recording of Ella from the third Montreux Jazz festival in 1969, her first appearance. This show was recorded live for Swiss television in a small club setting. Ella is accompanied by the Tommy Flanagan Trio consisting of piano (Flanagan), bass (Frank De La Rosa) and drums (Ed Thigpen). As you would expect this recording is in black and white.

    To my knowledge there is only one other full length concert recording available by Ella in our region on DVD, with Count Basie ten years later, again at Montreux. I have not seen that disc, however, my guess would be that the ten years in between would not have been kind to her voice, especially considering that in 1969 she was already in her early 50s and past her peak creative period of the mid-1950s. By 1969 her recent recording sessions had been dominated by covers of rock and pop tunes such as Hey Jude, Sunshine of your Love and others, in a record company attempt to broaden her appeal. Accordingly, this concert is a combination of those sorts of songs and more traditional jazz numbers. It also features a significant amount of scat singing, one of Ella's vocal trademarks.

    Ella's voice is generally in excellent form, with just a very occasional break. The backing group who she had been working with for some time are also excellent.

    The songs included are:

  1. Give Me The Simple Life (4:03) Starts with just the drummer and then the others join him, with Ella arriving last. Very nice number.
  2. The Girl's in Love With You (5:35) One of the highlights of the show.
  3. I Won't Dance (2:31)
  4. A Place For Lovers (3:00) From the Italian film Amanti which was known as A Place For Lovers in the US.
  5. That Old Black Magic (2:51) A fast scat style version.
  6. Useless Landscape (7:17) Another concert highlight for me featuring a nice piano solo and some scat singing on this bossa nova song.
  7. I Love You Madly (3:28) A Duke Ellington number.
  8. Trouble is a Man (5:03) Ballad style.
  9. A Man & A Woman (3:34) Scat dominated.
  10. Sunshine of Your Love (5:26) I would have thought Cream was a strange choice for Ella Fitzgerald to cover, but there you go.
  11. Well Alright Okay You Win (3:49)
  12. Hey Jude (5:16) Scat style Beatles cover.
  13. Scat Medley (8:11) Medley of too many well known songs to count all done scat style.
  14. A House is not a Home (6:16) Ella and the trio decide to do 'something pretty' for an encore, this Burt Bacharach number.

    All in all, a very nice set from a great Jazz singer, especially considering how few concert DVDs are available of Ella Fitzgerald.

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Track Listing

1. Give Me The Simple Life
2. This Girl's In Love With You
3. I Won't Dance
4. A Place For Lovers
5. That Old Black Magic
6. Useless Landscape
7. I Love You Madly
8. Trouble Is A Man
9. A Man And A Woman
10. Sunshine Of Your Love
11. Well Alright Okay You Win
12. Hey Jude
13. Scat Medley
14. A House Is Not A Home

Transfer Quality


    The video quality is pretty good for the age and source however does have some significant issues.

    The feature is presented in a 1.29:1 aspect ratio, non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout especially considering the late 1960s television source, with no evidence of low level noise. The bitrate is very high throughout.

    The film was in black & white and the contrast between black, whites and shades of grey was reasonable without being spectacular.

    Artefacts were the main issue here and the most obvious one were reasonably mild but quite prolific tape tracking errors. They mostly consisted of small jumps and some areas of slightly distorted picture. It looks like significant work has been done to make the film as good as possible but the tape tracking issues are quite obvious. I also noticed some flaring and comet trails, mostly from the cameras, and one patch of microphony at 39:45. There was also some very minor macro-blocking in the smoky backgrounds, such as at 9:35.

    There are no subtitles.

    There is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is surprisingly good.

    This DVD contains three audio options, an English DTS 5.1 track encoded at 768 Kb/s, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and an English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 track encoded at 1536Kb/s. Although all tracks are very good, the DTS is the clear winner here giving a much fuller and clearer sound than the others. Considering what I would assume was a mono source, the remixes work really well and the surround tracks are quite immersive without being unsympathetic.

    Vocals were clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The surround speakers added atmosphere to the music but did not have much to do.

    The subwoofer added significant bass to the DTS and DD 5.1 tracks.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu included music, scenes from the concert and the ability to select songs and audio options.


    A booklet is provided which includes a multi-page essay about Ella's appearance at Montreux that year and her recent recording history and the original poster from the 1969 Montreux festival.

R4 vs R1

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

    This concert is available in Region 1 in the same format.


    One of the few live recordings available on DVD by jazz great Ella Fitzgerald.

    The video quality is very good considering the source.

    The audio quality is also very good.

    The only extra is a booklet.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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