- Video Codec: VC-1
- Resolution: 1080i/60
- Audio Codec: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; LPCM 5.1, Dolby 2.0
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Discs: 1
- Rating: Not Rated
- Studio: Inakustic Gmbh
- Blu-ray Disc Release Date: July 14, 2009
- List Price: $24.95
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Say the name José Feliciano to most people and the song most likely to come to mind first would be the singer/guitarist’s 1960’s rendition of The Door’s classic, “Light My Fire.” Those old enough to remember might even recall his theme song for the short-lived sitcom for the late comedian Freddie Prinze, “Chico and the Man.” If you wanted to dig a little deeper, you might even discover that, that catchy song drilled into your brain every holiday season, “Feliz Navidad,” is none other than, you guessed it, José Feliciano. The Puerto Rican-born virtuoso has been burning up the international airwaves with his brand of Latin-tinged folk, rock, blues, jazz and soul for four decades now.
Although he is certainly a gifted songwriter in his own right, Feliciano has a preternatural ability to cover others material and make it unquestionably his own. This 2008 performance at Paris’ New Morning certainly highlights that ability. From his spirited cover of “I Got a Woman” to surprising renditions of Michael Jackson’s smash hit “Billie Jean” and Neil Diamond’s “Cherry, Cherry,” not only does Feliciano own the music, but he owns the crowd. He also proves that he is unafraid to tackle anything and put his signature on it — and he succeeds more often than he fails.
Some particular moments of musical ecstasy in this show take place when Feliciano runs through a cranking version of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” and a totally rip-roaring romp through the Berry Gordy/Janie Bradford penned “Money (That’s What I Want).” But it’s Neil Diamond’s “Cherry, Cherry” that gets the people up out of their seats, an effect the track seems to have on people regardless of who’s playing it.
There are some lulls and some misses in the show; for instance, Feliciano’s cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” doesn’t quite capture the energetic gospel flare of the original, the French number “Beyond the Sea” loses its charm in English, and, I hate to say it, but his performance of “Light My Fire” just lacked the energy of the some of the other covers. I guess it must be hard to be inspired by something you’ve had to perform thousands of times for decades. The misses don’t take away from the overall strength of the show, however, and I still hasten to recommend it to any music fan.
- Chico And The Man
- Crazy Heart
- Billy Jean
- Como Fue
- I Got A Woman
- If You Don’T Know Me By Now
- Higher Ground
- Oye Guitarra Mia
- Beyond The Sea
- Cherry, Cherry
- Porque Te Tengo Que Olvidar
- Oye Como Va
- Purple Haze
- Sunshine Of Your Love
- Que Sera
- Light My Fire
José Feliciano Band — The Paris Concert arrives is a VC-1 1080i encoding of its original high definition 1.78:1 framing. Video noise is a tbit high and detail is somewhat soft overall in this release, but compression artifacts are nonexistent and motion artifacts are very subtle. There are some slight aliasing issues that pop up, but nothing too distracting. Black levels are not very deep, but they are consistent although they do show a bit of noise. Flesh tones are natural, but there is a bit of color bleeding on occasion. Overall, however, it is an all right looking release for a live performance, but not spectacular by any means.
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), PCM 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) and Dolby Digital 2.0 options are provided for this release. Unlike the previous New Morning releases I’ve reviewed that all sounded fairly clean and detailed, this one sounded just a bit muddy in the midrange and lacked some clarity. Feliciano’s nylon-string guitar had a tendency to get lost in the mix during some of his solos occasionally and there was a cluttered sound to the whole mix. Individual instruments were a bit hard to distinguish at some of the loudest moments and dynamics seemed to be somewhat limited. High frequencies were also a bit too crunchy. Vocals did sound full and natural and low frequencies, though not really deep and resonant, were adequately full and musical.
The disc menu lists a “feature,” but really it is just a four-minute percussion solo at the end of the set by Feliciano, so I do not really consider this a supplemental feature. It could very easily have been listed as part of the normal track listing, or not separated at all from the final number.
The Definitive Word
Inakustik continues to impress with their New Morning series. José Feliciano Band’s blend of original tracks and moving originals offers just the right musical tonic for this reviewer. Recommended.