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DVD Series Features Rare Concert Footage of Jazz Icons

Although many of the early creators and masterminds of jazz have passed on, fans of any age can now watch vintage, unseen concerts from legends like Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald (pictured), thanks to a new DVD series, “Jazz Icons,” from Reelin’ in the Years Productions.

The nine-DVD series has been called “nothing but the best in content and presentation” by author Dan Morgenstern, and presents live, unreleased performances from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The series also features Chet Baker, Count Basie, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Thelonious Monk, Quincy Jones and Buddy Rich, and is comprised of one disc for each performer.

What makes the series intriguing is the number of classics by each musician, such as Armstrong’s “Basin Street Blues” and “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” or Fitzgerald’s legendary “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” and “Georgia On My Mind.”

Even more interesting is that some of the DVDs feature repeat performances of a specific song – like Monk’s two versions of “Lulu’s Back in Town” and Jones’ “Everybody’s Blues”- while others, such as Gillespie’s volume, show concerts that span decades. Seeing Gillespie perform in 1958 and 1970, or Baker in 1964 and 1979, gives fans an inside look at how the artists progressed and evolved over time. By watching these unseen concerts, fans can appreciate the golden era of jazz and catch an unseen glimpse at the genre’s icons.

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