When one thinks of the incredibly talented conglomeration of musicians that came together for 2004's Montreux Jazz Festival there is no doubt in your mind that what you are about to witness will be nothing short of phenomenal. Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Sylver Sharp, and so many others are names with which excellence is associated. With Santana's back up band, obviously titled, New Santana Band (NSB) the collection goes into a number of covers from Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Jodi Mitchell and more. Along with the 18 songs on the two disc DVD collection you get 3 bonus covers of One Love, Imagine, and Give Peace A Chance.
I was extremely excited as I tore off the cellophane wrapper from this DVD set. I grabbed my surround sound remote and placed the settings on DTS and turned the volume up as I sat down in my recliner. After introductions the band broke out into a jazz number that I felt was lacking a little but chalked it up to the band just warming up. The next number was a lively tune titled Adouma and was sung by Angelique Kidjo. The next 3 songs were Bob Marley covers and being a Marley fan I sat up in my recliner hoping to be wowed. The choice to have Kidjo cover Redemption song was probably not the greatest idea as her voice sounded somewhat off key. For Exodus / Get Up Stand Up, I was really blown away by singer Andy Vargas who came in as main and support vocals for Kidjo. It was a surprise to hear his voice at first because it sounded so soulful and defined, not at all how I was expecting him to sound like. As the show went on I was getting unnerved that all of Santana's special guests had to have their own solo's and not all of them up to par in my opinion. As the first disc ended I was feeling conflicted. The music wasn't at all what I was hoping it would have been.
As the second disc started I began to wonder about the choice of songs for a DVD titled Hymns For Peace. Get Up Stand Up was probably a song that sent out mixed messages about peace and the first number on the second disc, The Banana Boat Song, just seemed all together out of place. The continuation of performance solos had finally irked me to the point where I held a threatening finger over the fast forward button, though I just couldn't bring myself to do it. By the final number Ode To Joy my mind floated off to memories of A Clockwork Orange, a film that abused the title track frequently through the film. I don't want to say that I was glad the concert had ended because there were some extremely awe inspiring moments on the disc but for the most part it just felt too crammed and maybe that some of the performers were tired.
As a concert DVD you get what you pay for. There is a total of 21 performances (bonus songs included), an interview with Carlos Santana, and some great sound selections to choose from. I just don't really feel that this was a performance that would justify this DVD being a keeper. A rental definitely, but not a keeper.