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Alice Cooper, Legends of Jazz Blu-ray

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By Cyril Pearl -- Video Business, 11/1/2006

Alice Cooper: Live at Montreux 2005

EagleVision, Blu-ray Disc, available now, $24.98, reviewed on Samsung 61-inch widescreen DLP HDTV with HDMI connection

Legends of Jazz With Ramsey Lewis Showcase

LRS Media, Blu-ray Disc, available now, $34.99, reviewed on Samsung 61-inch widescreen DLP HDTV with HDMI connection

Legends of Jazz With Ramsey Lewis Showcase

High-definition disc beckons to music connoisseurs like a seductive, sonic frontier, weaving its aural spell to ensnare those who dare to take a taste. Grab ’em by the eyes and ears, it seems to say, and the rest will follow. Music-oriented labels EagleVision and LRS Media are eagerly making their first significant steps forward in the high-def arena with their fall live Alice Cooper disc and jazz performance compilation, respectively. It’s no surprise that both titles sound—Oh, how do we say it? It’s hard to keep coming up with the words—rich, full, crisp (at times) and full. There’s a strong, surrounding echo effect that one gets in the 5.1 mix (particularly on the Cooper disc) that was never as effectively recreated before high-def. Just as a concert hall is designed for the sound to emanate from the stage and travel up and around the far end of the hall, so sounds the performances on a solid system serving up 5.1 a la high-def. That quality of sound and separation is even more apparent on the Legends of Jazz disc, which also can be played in Dolby TrueHD, the highest quality consumer audio technology available from the company. (LRS is smartly assuming that the consumer who buys a jazz disc is a bona fide audiophile. Very few big electronics brands currently support Dolby TrueHD, but as times goes by and the format/technology evolves, Dolby TrueHD—call it Dolby’s response to high-def video—will be making some significant noise.) As much as these titles put an emphasis on audio, they don’t skimp on the video elements. The bright red stage blood and jet-black eye makeup of Cooper, the wood-grain luster of John Pizzarelli’s guitar, the gleam of Benny Golson’s tenor saxophone make it seem as though you are there for these quite different concert performances. Actually, that’s not right—you simply don’t get close-ups or detail like this at a live concert.

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