I recall being fascinated one night in 1973 on a post-high school trip to Europe when my friend and I stumbled onto a well-filmed performance (Les McCann, I believe it was) from the Montreux festival being broadcast on TV. Such things were unheard of in North America, but our Swiss hosts assured us this was commonplace on European television.
Back here at home, similar films would occasionally surface on the French-language service of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
So, we knew they were out there.
Now, it seems like a veritable treasure trove of rare live performances is about to be opened to North American audiences. As veteran jazz journalist Mike Zwerin discusses in his diary on the Jazz Journalists Association website, the first of a number of rare European TV performances have been released on DVD.