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Stuff: Live at Montreux 1976

Stuff was a group of session musicians with jazz chops who united under the less-is-more banner of the groove. The result was, in effect, one of the all-time great R&B cover acts through the 1970s. Stuff’s shifting personnel had solidified by the time it played the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1976. On the resulting live DVD and CD, guitarists Cornell Dupree and Eric Gale, keyboardist Richard Tee, bassist Gordon Edwards and drummer Steve Gadd won over a jazz audience by playing instrumental versions of hits by Stevie Wonder, Billy Preston and Earth, Wind & Fire.

The separate DVD and CD versions have a nearly identical running order of songs, yet each has separate strengths and weaknesses. The CD doesn’t offer out-of-focus camera shots, or pan to the guitarist who isn’t soloing by mistake. But the DVD doesn’t feature a creative cover of the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing,” or disguise the malfunctioning microphone used by guest vocalist Odetta on Edwin Hawkins’ “Oh Happy Day.”

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