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Music Video Distributors presents
Larry Carlton In Concert (1984)

"Thank you very much...welcome to the show."
- Larry Carlton

Review By: Jeff Rosado  
Published: February 09, 2003

Stars: Larry Carlton (Guitar/Vocals)
Other Stars: John Patitucci (Bass), Terry Trotter (Keyboards), Brian Mann (Keyboards), Michael Fisher (Percussion), Rick Marotta (Drums), Johnny Mars (Harmonica)
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 0h:39m:48s
Release Date: January 07, 2003
UPC: 707787651479
Genre: jazz

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ A-BA- D+

DVD Review

Being a studio musician can sometimes be a thankless job. Often the heart and soul of our favorite recordings, unless you've taken time to read credits or liner notes, you don't even know their names. Only a select few garner enough attention to establish themselves as performers in their own right.

One such artist is guitar virtuoso Larry Carlton. If his name rings a bell, it might be because of his brush with death 15 years ago in a random shooting outside his California recording studio. Yet many of you know his work better than you think. From the jazzy guitar work on Joni Mitchell's classic mid-1970s single Help Me to the emotional solo from the theme to television's Hill Street Blues, his talent graced many a classic album in the 1970s, including guest appearances on works from Steely Dan, Billy Joel, Christopher Cross and Barbara Streisand, among others.

Unlike most of his contemporaries who felt content to remain in the shadows, Carlton dared to venture out and try his luck as a solo performer. In 1978, he signed with Warner Bros and released the first of five critically-acclaimed albums. Regretfully, accolades didn't translate into sales, so it was off to MCA in 1983. Although sales were slightly brisker, the disappointment was offset by a growing and devoted legion of fans who lived for every bend of the Torrance, California native's guitar strings.

During this period, Larry and his band flew to Germany for an appearance on the internationally renowned music program, Ohne Filter (which translates to Without Filter—Sheer Unadulterated Music). Performing a well received set of newer material and fan favorites, it proved to be one of the most popular installments in the show's history.

Eighteen years later, the evidence resurfaces via the DVD release of Larry Carlton In Concert which showcases this classic concert performance. With an excellent band lending energetic support (include ace drummer and long-time sideman Rick Marotta), Carlton breezes through an enjoyable set of his unique brand of pop jazz with successful turns at fusion (Blues Under), Latin-flavored rock (Rio Samba) and blues (I Gotta Right, which also features Carlton displaying his underrated vocal abilities). Even if you're just a casual fan like myself, your curiosity will be rewarded beyond expectations and your appreciation deepened for one of the true greats of the six string.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Since the music is the main attraction here, I'm not going to play nitpicky over the visuals. Aside from a slight bleeding of reds during a couple of instances during obligatory solos, it's good. Judging from the above average picture quality for a music program nearly two decades in age, the vaults of the Ohne Filter program have been well preserved.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Two flavors to choose from here with the 2.0 coming across as extremely muffled with very little directionality (which probably represents how the program sounded on television way back when). But with one push of the audio selector on your remote, it's like the family doctor has removed a pound of cotton from your ears as you enjoy a well done 5.1 re-mix. Percussion nuances undetectable in the 2-channel job surface with gusto, as does phenomenal and deep bass response. This leaves much more room for Carlton's guitar work and accompanying keyboardists to better breathe sonically. Another plus is the clever seasoning of just the right amount of musical ambience to the rear speakers, putting you right in the middle of the audience. Many a musical DVD in the early days of the format was all but faultly in this area, so it's nice to see that tremendous improvements continue to be made.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 8 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
2 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Interview w/ Ohne Filter producer Michael Au
  2. Sound Tuning: Behind-the-scenes featurette
Extras Review: Not exactly bare-boned, but not the most earthshaking bonuses either: A five-minute interview with Ohne Filter producer Michael Au in which he explains the origin/concept of the show; a brief behind-the-scenes profile of how intricate the recording process is for the program; and a multi-page biographical profile of Carlton.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

A wonderful showcase for one of the industry's most incredibly gifted musicians. No brainer purchase for Carlton aficionados, but casual jazz fans may want to check this out as well.


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