Sunday, May 31, 2009

Saxy Lady: Candy Dulfer & All That Jazz

Candy Dulfer: Live At Montreux 2002
Eagle Rock Entertainment // 2005 // 99 Minutes // Not Rated

Reviewed by Steve Evans

Opening Shot
Alto saxophonist Candy Dulfer and her band Funky Stuff get down in this spectacular set from the 2002 Montreux Jazz Festival. Put your hands together for another terrific music DVD from Eagle Rock. If that’s not enough, then indulge in the unique pleasure of watching a gorgeous jazz musician take a saxophone mouthpiece between her lips, clamp down on the reed, and blow magic through the instrument with the sheer joy of making music. Mercy.

Give it Up for Miss Candy Dulfer

Holland’s most beautiful sax player lays down a blend of jazz, old-school funk, and Delfonics-style harmonies for an adoring crowd. These eight tracks are followed by a bonus performance from Dulfer’s 1998 appearance at Montreux. The six bonus songs include a fabulously funky cover of the Average White Band classic, “Pick Up the Pieces,” which wasn’t exactly suffering a funk deficit back when AWB was running up the charts in the 1970s. Tracks like “Do Watchu Like” and “Ooh Let’s Go” are aural wonders of erotica. Simply electrifying. Candy can rest her feet on my coffee table any ol’ time she pleases.

Dulfer worked frequently with Prince during the 1980s and recorded songs with Dave Stewart (one-half of The Eurythmics). She opened for Madonna on one leg of the Material Girl’s 1987 world tour, although Dulfer always returned to lead her own band, Funky Stuff, named for an old Kool and the Gang lyric (can’t get enough of that funky stuff). She founded the band just after turning 14 in 1983. What’s most arresting about this musician is her versatility, the ease with which she can improvise and adapt to any musical styling. In her career, Dulfer has also jammed variously with The Time, Van Morrison, and Pink Floyd, appearing with the latter at a 1990 concert in Knebworth where she blew away the audience with blistering solos on “Money” and “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.”

What’s on the Disc, Steve?
Lemme tell ya. Like other titles in the Live at Montreux series, this disc offers multiple audio options. The DTS Digital and Dolby 5.1 will rock the house. On the downside, frequent image pixelation during the main concert is a disappointment and a serious distraction, so I’ve gotta ding the disc for a sub-par digital transfer. Even after cleaning the DVD, there’s no question this is an inherent problem on the disc, which was triple checked on a new progressive-scan machine, a Dell laptop, and a top-of-the-line Mac. The bonus tracks played perfectly. This is the first problem of its kind I have encountered from an Eagle Rock product, most of which stand as the pinnacle of excellence in video and audio quality.

Jazz fans who love Dulfer — and I’m one of ‘em — should consider this DVD essential viewing, pixelated or otherwise. The lady can play that funky music. Check it out for yo'self:

Set List:
1. Dance
2. Omara’s Dance
3. Longin’ for the Funk
4. Lost and Gone
5. I’ll Be Released
6. Do Watchu Like
7. Sax-a-Go-Go
8. Ooh Let’s Go

Bonus Performance 1998:
1. Saxy Mood
2. For the Love of You
3. Lily Was Here
4. Jamming
5. I Can’t Make You Love Me
6. Pick Up the Pieces

Copyright © 2009 by Cinematic Cteve // dba Cinema Uprising. All rights reserved.

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