PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Fourplay-Fourplay (DVD-Audio) (1991)

Fourplay-Fourplay (DVD-Audio) (1991) (NTSC)

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Released 22-Oct-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Biographies-Cast
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 62:37
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given

Warner Vision
Starring Bob James
Lee Ritenour
Harvey Mason
Nathan East
Case DVD-Audio Jewel
RPI $39.95 Music None Given

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English MLP 96/24 5.1
English MLP 96/24 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

If you heard a romantically playful conversation, and the language was music, and the music was magic … it would have to be Fourplay. In their self-titled Warner Bros. debut, this ménage a quatre--comprised of keyboard king Bob James; guitar wizard Lee Ritenour; rhythm-master Harvey Mason; and bass-ace Nathan East, have delivered a jazz "tour de four" that covers an extraordinary expanse of tonal turf.

    Fourplay are a unique blend of artists and musicians who have come together from various very successful careers to produce one of the most carefully balanced and precisely crafted groups in history. Indeed, the theme of balance and harmony is ever-present in everything surrounding the group. Starting with the observation that the band has no formal leader and that no one particular player ever dominates a recording, you finish with a unique musical experience that manages to expertly blend all the various instruments and melodies into a single harmonious whole. This is certainly jazz with a difference; although the dynamic improvisation of typical jazz is absent, what is left is music as smooth as the finest silk and as rich as the creamiest chocolate.

    Each of the band's members not only brings with them a range of experience and creativity, but they also bring an incredible sense of balance and cooperation. It is evident in every aspect just how well these four work together and fundamentally that is why their style of jazz also works so well. Bob James, the pianist, has had a long and successful career spanning over 40 years. From his humble early days, learning to play the piano at age four, he has managed to record several gold and platinum records and collected a few Grammys along the way. Lee Ritenour, the guitarist, specializes in acoustic, electric and synthesized guitars and has been nominated for 10 Grammys, winning the "Best Jazz Instrumental" Grammy at one stage. Harvey Mason, the drummer, comes from an extensive background as a studio musician, working on television and movie soundtracks. He has recorded six albums and been nominated for three Grammy awards. Finally Nathan East, the bass player, has recorded with some of the greatest artists today including Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Lionel Ritchie and Whitney Houston to name but a few. Another unique feature of Fourplay is their inclusion of a guest player on many of their tracks. This element introduces a tremendous amount of variety into their music, making each song truly unique and special.

    In this, their debut album from Warner Bros., Fourplay introduce us to their unique jazz style that brings together several of the world's most popular music genres in a single harmonious blend. Each song is a harmonious blend of style, instruments, themes and melodies, so sit back, relax and enjoy … FourPlay.

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Track Listing

1. Bali Run
2. 101 Eastbound
3. Foreplay
4. Moonjogger
5. Man-O-Man
6. After The Dance
7. Qaudrille
8. Midnight Stroll
9. October Morning
10. Wish You Were Here
11. Rain Forest

Transfer Quality


    Being primarily a high resolution audio disc, this presentation contains only the simplest video content, mostly restricted to static cover images which are displayed whilst each track is playing. There is also a simple menu for selecting from stereo or surround mixes.


    This presentation is nothing short of superb and is definitely reference quality. I do not have a single complaint about any aspect of the recording, mastering, mixing or playback of this disc, and for once all the recorded tracks (Dolby Surround, MLP Stereo and MLP multi-channel) are so perfectly balanced that it is difficult to form a strong preference for either mix. In many respects this theme of perfect and harmonious balance pervades almost every facet of Fourplay's performances, recordings and style.

    This disc includes Advanced Resolution (MLP) 96/24 5.1 multichannel audio, MLP 96/24 2.0 stereo audio and finally Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio. I listened to both the MLP 5.1 and 2.0 tracks in their entirety and sampled the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix briefly, noting no significant differences between them except for some additional atmosphere and resolution in the MLP encoding.

    The soundstage is extremely immersive and very wide, spreading out across the entire front and even around the sides and rear in the surround mixes. It is an interesting combination of both natural and artificial instrument placement, with the drums naturally stretching from left to right (imaging beyond the speakers in the surround mixes) whilst some of the surround mixes make deliberate and very effective use of the additional channels to provide instrument imaging on both the sides and rear (Tracks 7, 9 & 11 are good examples). Often surround mixes improve ambience at the expense of focus, but that is not the case here. In fact, the soundstage focus is so precise that, for example, every single percussion instrument, be it the cymbals, bassdrum or snare can be precisely placed and identified. One additional aspect of the soundstage that deserves special mention in this recording is the incredible depth and ambience present in the MLP 2.0 stereo mix of Tracks 2 & 4. These particular mixes exhibit some of the best ambience you are likely to ever come across in any two channel recording and the depth cues (early and late reflections), especially on the piano, are also quite impressive.

    The resolution is practically perfect. Not quite absolutely perfect, but certainly near enough. Each instrument is clear and distinct and yet remains in perfect harmony with the rest of the recording, never overpowering the mix. A good example of the detail that is present in these recordings can be found in Track 3, where each hammer of the piano hitting the strings (3:05) or each pluck of the acoustic guitar (4:30) can be heard with absolute clarity. Minimal use was made of vocals and when they were present it was mostly for ambient support as opposed to a foreground focus of the performance. The exception to this is Track 6 when Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind and Fire fame provides the main vocals which, although somewhat subdued, are as pure and natural as you could expect them to be (and yes, Philip's voice really is that high). This recording also exhibits stunning naturalness and transparency that makes it a pleasure to simply sit (or in my case, with a lounge recliner--lie back) and listen to, regardless of your particular mood or musical tastes. As you relax and close your eyes, your room, speakers and equipment simply vanish and all you are left with is the music.

    The nature of the recording, that being harmoniously balanced, ambient music, renders a comparison of recording level or dynamic range somewhat obsolete and meaningless. All of the tracks deliberately lack any explosive dynamic range and are deliberately recorded at a pleasant, almost background listening level by design. None of the channels were imbalanced or inappropriately used and although the subwoofer was practically inaudible, this is not to be considered an issue. The surrounds channels are used to provide ambience, expand the soundstage and to provide a highly immersive ambience that adds rather than detracts from the recordings; and the centre channel is used to enforce the frontal soundstage rather than to dominate it. The only inconsistency I noticed was a difference in recording levels between many of the surround and stereo MLP mixes, with the stereo mixes being approximately 6db louder in level.

    The only extraneous glitches I noticed with this recording was a subtle difference between the stereo and surround mixes of Track 9, 0:07 where a high pitched, but pleasant, ring is present in the surround mix and absent in the stereo mix! And there is a slight difference between the lengths of the various mixes of the songs - this is true for each track. For instance: for Track 2, the 5.1 mix is 6:09 in length but the 2.0 stereo mix is only 5:56 in length. Lacking perfect pitch, I was not aware of any pitch differences, nor did I pick up any specific cuts or edits in either version. They were simply different durations.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu

    A single level menu provides direct access to the Surround and Stereo track listings (MLP) and to the various additional extras mentioned below.


    A fold-out 8 Page booklet with four photos of each of the band's members, the front and back cover, track list and credits.


    17 Pages. Details the background behind the individual players and finally the group as a whole. Most of what is presented here has been summarised in the synopsis section.


    6 Pages. Each page details a specific album release from Fourplay and the various tracks contained on them. The albums include: "The Best of Fourplay", "Elixir", "Between The Sheets", "Fourplay… Yes, Please!", "Snowbound" and "4".


    2 Pages. A list of production credits for the various musicians, producers, engineers, recorders, mixers and editors involved in the production of this release.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc appears to be identical worldwide.


    This is a superb example of DVD-Audio from a unique jazz group that should be able to be appreciated by anyone.

    The video quality is inconsequential.

    The audio quality is sublime.

    The extras are simple but consistent with other DVD-Audio releases.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael S Cox (to bio, or not to bio?)
Monday, January 20, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplayJVC Interiart Flat 68cm Display 16:9. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3802
SpeakersFront LR - NEAR MainMast, Center - NEAR 20M, Surround LR - NEAR Spinnaker DiPoles, Rear LR - NEAR MainMast-II, Subwoofer - NEAR PS-2 DiPole

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