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Ernest Ranglin: Order of Distinction Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0; Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (Audience Mix & Stage Mix); Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: None
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: AIX Records
  • Blu-ray Release Date: July 31, 2012
  • List Price: $39.95

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Performance

[Rating:4.5/5]

Octogenarian Ernest Ranglin is a living legend in his native Jamaica where he is credited with the creation of “ska” music, an upbeat genre that preceded reggae and was a major influence on the UK pop scene of the ‘60s. Order of Distinction refers to the honor awarded Ranglin by the Jamaican government for his service to music.  In this studio set, recorded by AIX Records in 2006, we get a jam session par excellence featuring Ranglin and some pretty heavy sidemen: Monty Alexander (keyboards, melodica, bass), Joey Altruda (electric guitar), Laurence Juber (acoustic guitar),Richard Bailey (drums), Phil Chen (electric bass), and Alana Davis and Elan Atias (vocalists). Even if you think that the Jamaican music scene is all about Bob Marley or Jimmy Cliff (one of his big hits, Many Rivers to Cross is included), better think again. This is infectious toe-tapping stuff with a hint of mainstream jazz, calypso, salsa, and Jamaican, man. Age has done little to slow Ranglin’s fast fingers, and the ensemble work is tight. Recording qualities are also tops, in the AIX tradition.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The videographers keep us thoroughly engaged with deft camera work that moves quickly from soloists to ensemble shots. The close-ups of the instruments and artists’ hands is gorgeous. The color palette tends to favor yellows, perhaps in honor of one of Jamaica’s national colors.

Audio Quality

[Rating:5/5]

AIX presents a choice of four soundtracks: Dolby 5.1 TrueHD (“stage” and “audience” mixes). The former puts you in the midst of the players while the latter gives you a traditional performance perspective. Lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM 2.0 tracks are also provided. By all means, try each of them (the disc allows for a proper speaker set up), but I am certain that you will prefer the one of the Dolby TrueHD selections that really make these great artists come alive in your home theater room.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

There is some great background video on the rehearsal sessions, always enjoyable to watch the players get it together. A featurette on the story of this music genre with interviews of the artists, including Robbie Krieger (the Door’s guitarist), will be of interest to ska newcomers.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

If music be the food of love, then this BD will fill the menu just fine.  Ernest Ranglin may not be a familiar name to many prospective viewers, but sampling any of the tracks (half of which are Ranglin compositions) will whet one’s appetite for more.  Even the more familiar songs like “Many Rivers to Cross,” or the novelty number “My Boy Lollipop” will come across as fresh compositions. There is plenty of variety here, and it is not all that monotonous thumping two-note reggae bass line. In fact, there are a number of styles here, from R&B (“It Hurts to be Alone”) to mainstream jazz (“Grandfather Clock”) to calypso (“Pocomania”)that will make 60 minutes pass in a flash.  Order of Distinction is one of those rare recorded moments that lets viewers catch a glimpse of greatness that should never be missed.  Highly recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Ernest Ranglin: Order of Distinction on Blu-ray  at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B0085AXRW0[/amazon-product]

Purchase Ernest Ranglin: Order of Distinction on Blu-ray  at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]


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