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Music DVD Review: Carlos Santana Plays Blues At Montreux 2004

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In July of 2004, on a very special night at the Montreux Jazz festival, Carlos Santana, as the musical director, brought three special guests to perform. The three musical legends took the stage and each one delivered a full concert set playing some of the finest blues you will ever hear. First up was Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, followed by Bobby Parker, and then finally Buddy Guy. Each one, a headline act and on this night an extra special treat to have them all on bill.

In the full concert, each of the performers played a full set and was joined on stage by Carlos Santana, Nile Rogers, Barbra Morrison, and others. The full night was previously released in a three DVD set. This single disk release contains only the performances with Carlos Santana.

The concert starts out with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. According to Brown, "Folks call me a bluesman because I'm black and because I play guitar." "But my music is American music – Texas style." In 1947, when T-Bone Walker fell ill on stage, Brown leaped up on stage, picked up Walker's guitar and started playing his own "Gatemouth Boogie." A star was born.

It was amazing to watch Brown play. He has these incredibly long fingers that he uses as picks and is totally unconventional in his style. But his playing is timeless. He was self taught and an iconic legend, who was still entertaining at the ripe old age of 80. He died a little over a year later in September 2005 which makes this set even more special.

Next up was the legendary Bobby Parker playing "Chill Out," the title track to the 1995 Grammy winning album by John Lee Hooker. Then on to "Mellow Down Easy," a Willie Dixon tune. Carlos Santana once remarked "He is one of the few remaining guitarists who can pierce your heart and sooth your soul. He inspired me to play guitar, what more need be said?" Parker was well into his seventh decade at during this concert.

Finally we have Buddy Guy. A five time Grammy award winner and probably the most influential of the three on the sixties rock music scene influencing Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page among others. A lot of the music with Guy is jamming.

What I like about this video is the amount of respect that Carlos Santana gives the other musicians. He himself has been a headliner for forty years and could have very easily out played anyone on the stage. But he doesn't. In fact while he plays off them when the mood is right, he really lets them shine. And this is not limited to the stars. This also includes the supporting musicians as well.

The DVD itself is excellently produced with very good video and audio quality. The supporting bands are great as well. Everything about this video makes it worthwhile to own and play over and over again. It is a timeless session and I highly recommend it for any fan of the blues.

Track Listing
With Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown:
I've Got My Mojo Working

The Drifter
Grape Jelly
Okie Dokie Stomp

With Bobby Parker:
Chill Out
Mellow Down Easy
Watch Your Step

With Buddy Guy:
Stormy Monday
Jam Session 1
So Many Roads, So Many Trains
Jam Session 2

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.