The Montreux Dream-The Story of the Montreux Jazz Festival (1999)

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Released 1-Oct-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Booklet
Web Links
Featurette-The B.B.King Montreux Workshop
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 77:00 (Case: 125)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Christopher Swann

Warner Vision
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles French
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 Montreux Dream is primarily a documentary about the Montreux Jazz festival and it's creator and promoter Claude Nobs. There are a series of interviews with Nobs and some of the performers and a few of the more famous guests intermixed with clips from the festival itself.

    If you are looking for music on this disc, then you will be disappointed. Other than two short musical pieces in the B.B.King workshop, the second documentary on this disc, we do not get to listen to more than a short segment of any particular song or performance. The performances are continuously interrupted with interviews.

    There are two main documentaries on this disc, the first on the festival overall and the second on a section of the festival based around a 'Jazz workshop' run by the famous B.B.King.

    The focus of the first documentary really is on Calude Nobs. The history of the Jazz festival is outlined in a series of interviews with Nobs. Interspersed with the history are a series of anecdotal stories surrounding the festival along with clips recorded at the festival itself. Also, where Nobs mentions a particular act that he has booked for the festival, they are also interviewed. These clips are fascinating, giving almost a history of Jazz and modern music over the last 33-odd years. The festival has evolved over the years, originally being about 90% Jazz and 10% other - it is now a music festival involving all types of music.

    The second documentary is recorded at the Jazz workshop that was part of the 1999 festival. B.B.King talks about his life and interpretations of Jazz and a little on his playing style. This is also interspersed by historical recordings of King at the festival playing the pieces he is talking about. I am not sure just how much of the workshop is contained in this 48 minute documentary. Personally, I found it a little lacking in real content. Parts of this documentary were also included in the first documentary leading to about 15 minutes of repeated footage.

    Overall, I was left a little dissatisfied with this disc. While it promised much, it delivered something less. It was interesting to watch once, but I would not consider watching it again.

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Transfer Quality


    There are three distinct parts to this disc. The first documentary footage itself, the interspersed footage from the festival and the B.B.King documentary.

    The main documentary is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and the B.B.King documentary in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Both are 16x9 enhanced.

    Quality-wise, the main documentary is quite good. Sharpness is good, shadow detail is good and there is no low-level noise. The footage from past festivals is not as good. The quality is pretty much dependant upon the age of the footage, with the oldest footage being very grainy, low in shadow detail and high in noise. Considering the lighting conditions and the age of the footage, this is not surprising. I am just very happy that the footage does exist in any condition.

    Two cameras are used during the B.B.King documentary. The close-up camera is nice and sharp. Unfortunately, the long shot camera is shocking, with its image being very soft and blurred. The cuts back and forth are a little jarring as a result of the rather large difference in quality.

    The colours vary to the same extent as the sharpness does, with the recent footage having good accurate colours and only a little chroma noise, and the earlier footage again not being so good.

    The main footage is pretty free of MPEG artefacts, with only a few occurrences in the background such as at 8:40 in the B.B.King documentary. There is some dot crawl on the Montreux sign on the harbour at 2:19. There is also some aliasing, particularly noticeable on the roof tiles at 8:55.

    The main documentary footage appears to have been recorded on video as there are no film artefacts visible but a little video noise is present in some scenes. The archive footage in places looks like a mixture of formats including 16mm film and shows its age.

   There are French and Dutch subtitles on this disc, I cannot attest to their accuracy.

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


    The audio was very disappointing. It has a very narrow range, with both the top and bottom of the frequency spectrum being lost. At one point, some triangles are being played. They are almost inaudible. At another point, there is a whole section played on the double bass. This would have been a great section, and would have tested the speed of your subwoofer as well as being great to listen to. Unfortunately, it is again almost inaudible.

    There is only one audio track and it is a Dolby Digital 2.0 effort.

    The dialogue quality was good throughout and in sync. There is one section with some pops and clicks, and B.B.King moves his guitar during the workshop and hits the microphone several times.

    The music presented on this disc comes from a very wide spectrum. We move from early jazz, through a piece from the Dubliners, and up to REM. If the sound track had been better and the music clips a little longer, this would be a gem of a disc.

     This is a stereo track and there is no surround activity. Due to the lack of bass in the soundtrack, the subwoofer had very little to do.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menus are 16x9 enhanced.


    A very small and short booklet.

Web Links

    Three web links; the producers of the disc, the Montreux festival home page and B.B.King's home page.

Featurette: The B.B.King Montreux Workshop

    I have included the information for this above.

R4 vs R1

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

    There does not appear to be a Region 1 version of this disc.


    Like cotton candy, this is a sweet disc but with little substance. It does offer an interesting journey through the history of this festival and puts the festival on the list of things that I want to do one day, but will probably not grace my DVD player again.

    The video quality is variable, but that is understandable.

    The audio is not up to scratch.

    The B.B.King workshop would be fantastic to attend, but I don't think it has really been captured here.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Tuesday, October 09, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252Q CRT Projector, 254cm custom built 1.0 gain screen. 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.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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