The blues has always been a vital component of Carlos Santana's music. On a magical night at the Montreux Festival on July 12, 2004, he was given the opportunity to present and perform with three of his favorite bluesmen: Buddy Guy, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, and Bobby Parker. Each artist plays a full-length concert and is joined during their set by Carlos and other special guests, including Nile Rodgers and Barbara Morrison. This Blu-ray™ features all three concerts in their entirety and is a must-have for any blues fan. (Tricia Spears)
The only special feature is a booklet.
The 1.78:1 1080p AVC picture is colorful and dimensional. The staging is heightened with the presence of dramatic lighting effects, which nicely frame the musicians. Colors are bright, warm, and vibrant and during applause the audience is also nicely lit. Fleshtones are presented well under the lights, as are the glimmer of the instruments. Resolution is excellent, revealing fine facial features, clothing textures, and instrument compositions. This is a wonderfully photographed picture that puts you right on stage and up close. (Gary Reber)
The program opens with Bobby Parker's six-piece ensemble. Bobby's vocals and guitar are phantom imaged in the center of the soundstage, with tenor saxophone and harmonica to the right and Hammond organ to the left. Drums are centered as a phantom image, supported by the discrete center channel. Interestingly, the center channel also carries the bass guitar, as well as the .1 LFE, which provides the solid bass foundation for the presentation. The sound is excellent, with a "you-are-there" concert PA presence. The audience and the instrumental ambiance is captured in the surround channels, which provide a good holosonic® envelopment. Carlos Santana sits in on "Chill Out," "Mellow Down Easy," and "Watch Your Step," with guitar voicing phantom centered. The Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown set features an ensemble of five, with Clarence on guitar, violin, and vocals, alto saxophone to the left and Hammond organ to the right with the bass guitar and drums centered in the soundstage image. As before, the bass guitar is
carried by the discrete center channel and the .1 LFE channel. The soloist and Clarence's vocals are also found in the center channel but less prominently than in the left and right channels. Carlos Santana is featured on "I've Got My Mojo Working" (along with a trombone soloist), "Drifter," "Grape Jelly," and "Okie Dokie Stomp" with Nile Rodgers. The Buddy Guy set features Buddy playing acoustic guitar and singing center stage with a prominent phantom center image and support from a less-prominent discrete center channel. He switches to electric guitar on "Hoochie Coochie Man," backed by an ensemble of five sidemen—electric piano on the left and alto saxophone and guitar on the right, with bass guitar and drum in the center stage. Carlos Santana is featured on "Stormy Monday," "So Many Roads So Many Trains" (with Bobby Parker), and two Jam Sessions with Bobby Parker and Nile Rodgers joining in. The three-set program is a tour de force of guitar-focused blues that is nicely presented in lossless 5.1-channel DTS-HD Master Audio™, as mixed and recorded by David Richards. There is also a Dolby® Digital rendering, but it lacks the fidelity, presence, and depth of the DTS sound. The PCM stereo track is well recorded but falls far shot in delivering the dimensional presence of the "live" concert. (Gary Reber)