In a concert film now available on Qwest TV, Nina Simone performs live at the Olympia, in Paris, in 1970.

Watching a video recording of a concert is never quite the same as being there, yet at its best a filmed show can amplify the music with a cinematic dimension, creating revelatory images and foregrounding charismatic presences. That’s what an extraordinary new trove of sixty-six concert films, sourced from France’s national audiovisual archive and released on the Qwest TV Web site, offers. (Qwest is a streaming site and TV channel, founded in 2017 by Quincy Jones and the music producer Reza Ackbaraly.) The performances, ranging from the nineteen-fifties through the nineteen-eighties, feature many of the twentieth-century heroes of Black music, from Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald to Aretha Franklin and James Brown, but the rediscoveries of rarely seen artists (in particular, jazz artists) are as significant as the spotlighting of celebrated ones. The Qwest collection is perhaps the most significant treasure chest of archival jazz concerts to emerge in years.

Earlier this year, an enriching but minor Thelonious Monk discovery, “Palo Alto,” from 1968, emerged, but the Monk concert that has surfaced on Qwest—“Thelonious Monk Quartet: Live in Amiens, France,” from 1966—is major. (Like many
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