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MRQE Top Critic

The Rhythm Section

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The Rhythm Section

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“This was a supreme experience,” Carlos Santana said.

I beg to differ. As a CD, it provides superb atmospheric music. Visually, it is a colossal bore.

The problem with the video is in the lack of animation in the performers. I understand Santana and Van Halen, for example, have completely different stage dynamics. Nonetheless, if you want me to take two hours out of my day to watch a concert video, you ought to earn my visual engagement. Otherwise, I am just going to start multitasking (e.g., throwing away junk mail, answering e-mails, etc.) while thinking, “This music is pleasant; now let me round up the trash.”

Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter are compelling musicians with highly regarded bodies of work. Their DVD, Carlos Santana & Wayne Shorter: Live at the 1988 Montreaux Jazz Festival will appeal to the rabid fan and those who were there. Put another way, it makes a nice souvenir, but I would buy the CD instead.

DVD Extras

The features are sparse. You can play the concert intercut with interviews or the concert and interviews separately.

Because I am a music history/trivia buff, I chose the former to get some insight on the music and to shore up my minutia arsenal in case I ever found myself on Jeopardy. Sadly, the interviews provide more of the trivial than they do trivia.

There are “extras,” if you want to count the interviews with Wayne Shorter, Claude Nobs and Carlos Santana as such. Sadly, the interviews go nowhere. When Santana speaks, he swerves way off the Yellow Brick Road. While I got what he was talking about in a poetic sense and was able to connect the dots in his analogies, to the average listener, it might come across as rambling. Even to these forgiving ears, the interview footage makes it apparent why Santana is an instrumental musician and not a lyricist.

Picture and Sound

Shot in 1988, the picture is clearly video, 480i. For this type of presentation, there is no need for high definition.

In this video, Santana, Shorter and company seemed entranced and immersed in their music and introspections. They were probably enjoying themselves and probably happy to be there. It’s just that I have been more entertained watching paint dry.

How to Use This DVD

Put the DVD in the player, wait for the title screen to come up, select “Play all.” Then start folding laundry, checking e-mail, and dusting your furniture.