Lou Rawls-The Jazz Channel Presents (2000)

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Released 5-Mar-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Biographies-Cast
Featurette-Meet The Artist
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 63:44
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Waymer Johnson
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Lou Rawls
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Lou Rawls


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English dts 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles French
German
Italian
Swedish
Norwegian
Spanish
Portuguese
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, titles over last song

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Jazz Channel Presents: Lou Rawls is another in a series of TV specials featuring concerts by black jazz musicians produced by BET on Jazz.

    Born in Chicago in 1935, Lou Rawls' musical career has spanned over 40 years, 60-plus albums, three Grammy wins, 13 Grammy nominations, one platinum album, five gold albums and a gold single. His music has elements of gospel, blues, soul and pop packaged together with a wonderful singing voice that can be sweet, soft, strong and smooth all at the same time. No wonder that at the height of his career, he was one of the highest paid black performing artists around, and even today the power of his voice is unmistakable in this concert held in an intimate jazz club.

    Backed by a 13-piece band and 3 backup singers, Lou is in top form in this concert recording. He has a very pleasing stage presence and is obviously very comfortable and quite dapper-looking in his silk suit with matching silk tie. In between songs, he converses a fair bit to his rapt and very attentive audience. I guess I shouldn't be surprised (given that BET stands for Black Entertainment TV or something) that the audience is predominantly black (although I did notice one white couple sitting on a table), but I would have thought that his target audience would be a lot broader than that suggested by the attendees of this performance. I will confidently predict that anyone who enjoys the music in Blues Brothers will enjoy his songs.

    I quite enjoyed this concert. I was surprised that I recognized a few songs, including Let Me Be Good To You, Love Is A Hurtin' Thing and You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine. Lou gives a very interesting version of Louis Armstrong's classic What A Wonderful World, and it was good to be able to hear a rendition of Wind Beneath My Wings that is not completely spoiled by Bette Midler, whose version I've always perceived as being so incredibly off-key that it never ceases to amaze me how anyone can stand listening to it.

    The end titles are superimposed over Lou whilst he is still belting out his last number, which I thought was a bit uncaring. I would have strongly preferred that the end titles roll out after the last song against a black background, but I suppose the producers wanted to fit as much music into a 60 minute TV slot as they could, and felt superimposing the titles over the song would allow them to fit more songs in.

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Track Listing

1. Groovy People
2. Tobacco Road
3. Natural Man
4. Lady Love
5. Let Me Be Good To You
6. Since I Met You Baby
7. Love Is A Hurtin' Thing
8. Stormy Monday
9. Room With A View
10. Bring It On Home To Me
11. Your Good Thing (Is About To End)
12. What A Wonderful World
13. Hoochie Coochie Man
14. Wind Beneath My Wings
15. You'll Never Find Another Love...
16. See You When I Git There

Transfer Quality

Video

    Given that this originated as a TV special, the transfer is presented in a full frame aspect ratio and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    In general, the transfer seems reasonably clean, with good sharpness, detail and colour saturation. However, closer inspection reveals that the original video source must have been somewhat dirty and someone has applied a fair amount of enhancement to make the transfer look bright and clean. Camera shots of darker, non-spotlighted scenes reveal some degree of colour smearing and video noise. A tell tale sign is that shadow detail of anything not on stage is relatively poor.

    In terms of MPEG artefacts, the transfer is relatively clean, apart from slight Gibb effect ringing in various scenes and some aliasing (particularly in the vibes in 31:42).

    Surprisingly, this DVD actually comes with several subtitle tracks. I was hoping that one of the subtitle tracks would be in English and that the song lyrics would be transcribed onto the track. But alas, no such luck! The subtitle tracks here contain translations of Lou's stage banter into various foreign languages but do not include translations of the lyrics to the songs. Just for fun, I turned on the Italian subtitle track for a brief period. They didn't do a very good job with the translation as quite a few sentences were missed out, as well as I think the entire conversation between tracks 9 and 10.

    The packaging is incorrectly labelled DVD9. The DVD is in fact single layered (DVD5).

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    This DVD has three audio tracks: Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448Kb/s, DTS 5.1 (unknown bitrate) and Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224Kb/s. I listened to the DTS 5.1 soundtrack in its entirely, and in addition listened to a fair proportion (say about half an hour's worth) of the Dolby Digital 5.1 track.

    The DTS track is actually more like a 4.0 track since the centre channel was not engaged during the entire concert. The soundstage is very front-focused, with the rear surround speakers mainly carrying ambient information. The original audio source must have been in stereo and then remixed into 5.1 as even the audience noises emanate from the front speakers as opposed to coming from the rears.

    I was quite impressed by the DTS track - it had a very natural-sounding "live" feel about it, and I can almost imagine Lou and the band playing "live" in front of me. In contrast, the Dolby Digital track sounded very flat and uninspiring, which is a disappointment as I know Dolby Digital can sound better than this. The Dolby Digital 2.0 track, which I listened to briefly, sounded even more insubstantial and seems to be mastered at about 6 dB lower than either of the 5.1 tracks.

    I did not detect any audio glitches or synchronization issues. Lou's dialogue can be a bit difficult to understand at times but I think this due to his fast speech rather than any problem with the audio transfer.

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

Extras

    Given that most music DVDs don't come with any extras, the presence of an "interview" featurette, biographical stills, and the unusual inclusion of foreign language subtitles makes this DVD a cut above the average.

Menu

    The menus are reasonably pleasing and seems to be relatively free of MPEG artefacts, unlike some DVDs I've seen. They are in full frame format and are static.

Biography - Lou Rawls

    This contains 4 stills covering a brief biography of Lou Rawls.

Featurette - "Meet the Artist"

    This is a brief (18:03 minutes) interview with Lou Rawls. Lou is presented in a small "window" over a background consisting of excerpts from the main feature. Lou talks about his childhood, his gospel beginnings, his association with Sam Cooke, and his harrowing experience in a car accident where he was pronounced dead on arrival and he was actually in a coma for several days and how that has changed his life. Given that there are quite lengthy periods in which he doesn't talk (and the little "window" disappears), I suspect this is a short 5-10 minute interview that has been stretched through the incorporation of excerpts from the concert performance.

R4 vs R1

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

    There appears to be no significant differences between the R1 and R4 versions of this disc.

Summary

    The Jazz Channel Presents: Lou Rawls is an enjoyable if somewhat short concert by a good performer. It is presented on a DVD with an acceptable video and audio transfer with some extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Saturday, January 20, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (203cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3300
SpeakersFront left/right: B&W DM603; centre: B&W CC6S2, rear left/right: B&W DM601

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