September 30, 2008
With over 10 million CD’s sold and climbing as I type the thought crossed my mind that these compilation albums must be popular or they wouldn’t keep putting them out. The appeal reaches far beyond the somewhat limited soundtrack collector market. While this group will likely look at film selections and yawn the general public, especially the older generation, will recall memories of Brando, Holden, Peck, Flynn, and others. Listening for the first time brought memories back of all of the classic films represented in this compilation. The changes in film music from 1933-1963, the period of time this Vintage Cinema CD covers were dramatic. Just compare Max Steiner’s King Kong with its Wagner influences to the Americana of Copland in The Red Pony to the strong jazz in A Street Car Named Desire from Alex North and a basic orchestration with the simple childlike melody of To Kill A Mockingbird from Elmer Bernstein. These were big changes! Improvisation certainly wasn’t a technique that Korngold used in his wonderful rousing Adventures of Robin Hood but Waxman certainly weaved it into a saxophone part for his A Place In The Sun. This is a melody that has been performed in many styles even further by jazz, dance, and lounge performers all over the world. This reviewer has even heard it in an elevator setting. Bernstein certainly followed and expanded upon the ideas of North and Waxman in his only encounter with Hollywood for the picture On The Waterfront. Shostakovich could only smile when he could hear the scherzo sound of his 11th Symphony from Waxman in “The Ride of the Cossacks” from Taras Bulba. Rozsa is certainly not forgotten with his Spellbound Concerto and classic symphonic El Cid. And no CD is complete without one selection from Bernard Herrmann and the choice of North by Northwest is an excellent one.
The orchestration/arrangements weren’t credited but as best as this reviewer can guess some of them came from the Christopher Palmer arranging that he did on the Gerhardt/National Philharmonic recordings. Others came from the composer themselves who would write a suite containing the themes from the film. These arrangements are ones you might have heard at a summer pops concert by your local symphony orchestra.
It should be noted that this 53+ minute recording was done in only one day not the norm that you usually see in the liner notes if you pay attention to those kind of details. John Waxman, the son of Franz Waxman, spent a lot of time on the project making it a reality. Recorded with 10 mikes using the DSD process (response of 0 to 100,000 and dynamic range of 120db) results in no distortion from the recording. The only flaws are from your amp and speakers! For soundtrack collectors it is recorded in a concert style setting with no tight miking techniques used in film scores.
For anyone that is relatively new to the world of golden score film music it is a wonderful introduction to Waxman, Rozsa, Korngold, and others. If you hear something you like you can purchase a complete score to a particular film. If you’re in a rut with only the newer sound of Zimmer, Powell, and others it will likely not appeal to you albeit you should give it an opportunity. The Telarc Website will have music clips, downloading (MP3 at 320k), and SACD version on its release date of October 28th. It will also be available through many CD outlets. Recommended!
Golden Scores Rating is ***½
Engineered by Robert Friedrich
Produced by Robert Woods
Telarc # is CD 80708
1… King Kong (3:05)
2… Robin Hood (3:58)
3… Spellbound (7:16)
4… Red Pony (3:39)
5… Sunset Boulevard (4:36)
6… Streetcar Named Desire (6:06)
7… A Place In The Sun (4:56)
8… On The Waterfront (4:57)
9… North by Northwest (2:39)
10. El Cid (3:24)
11. To Kill A Mockingbird (3:01)
12. Taras Bulba (4:59)
Total Time is 53:13
September 25, 2008
Can one say that they have arrived when there is a greatest hits recording by a third party? The answer is a resounding yes in the case of Thomas Newman. Seven of his Oscar nominated scores as well as his Emmy award-winning theme Six Feet Under are represented on this Silva release performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and London Music Works. James Fitzpatrick and Rick Clark selected (14) tracks Newman did for films between 1994-2006, the two decades that have brought him to the top of the A list in composers. Son of Alfred Newman, a (9) time Oscar winner, brother of David, film composer, and cousin to Randy Newman another Oscar winner, the family just keeps on producing wonderful scores.
Don’t expect to hear a lot of the quirky material that has become his trademark although “Dead Already” from American Beauty and the “Theme” from Six Feet Under are included which spotlights percussion, pizzicato strings, unusual instruments, and just plain weird sounds! The difficulty in duplicating this for a concert hall setting is going to be who is going to play them and where are you going to get the instruments. Couple this with the mixing in of separate tracks to the OST material and you’re never going to be able to do it. The emphasis of this CD is placed on the sweeping melodies, lush arranging, and just plain old fashion playing to bring a lump to your throat and a tear to your eye. Shawshank Redemption, Meet Joe Black, The Green Mile, and Cinderella Man are good examples of his classic concert works. While both Road to Perdition, and Finding Nemo could have had the quirky nature depending on the cue chosen, the road of conservatism prevailed and these tracks are also softer moments, more of the easy listening style. One of his latest works The Good German, a return to the music style of his father is nicely captured in two cues. Having said that the trained ear could still get a whiff of the Thomas trademark in the strings and harmony. Little Women, always a favorite of this reviewer, is not only included but features a Thomas Newman arrangement
Think of this release as a pleasant one-hour concert written by a composer who truly knows how to write a melody, one that you would be humming to yourself or out loud as you leave the theater. But it is extremely important to keep in mind that this is performed concert style, a nice way to listen to your music. An individual could easily pick apart each and every track on this recording. Oh, this four bar motif in the brass wasn’t included or the E flat clarinet is missing in Finding Nemo. As a serious reviewer I took the time to put together (4) of the selections with the OST followed by this Silva recording and found that while different the performance, orchestration and arranging were more than acceptable. To many of the hard core soundtrack listeners your own personal compilation CD is in order and this CD is not recommended. If you want a nice one hour listening experience this CD will fill the bill. If you are somewhat new to the world of Thomas Newman this is an excellent introduction. If you like what you hear there are numerous recordings available to explore. Recommended!!!
CD Mastering: Gareth Williams
Produced by James Fitzpatrick & Rick Clark
Conducted by James Fitzpatrick, Nic Raine, and Ken Alwyn
Arranged by Dan Head, Dominic Nunns, Evan Jolly, Rick Clark, Adam Klemens, Adam Saunders, and Thomas Newman
Main Titles Rating is ***½
1. The Good German: Unrecht Oder Recht (02:32)
2. The Good German: Jedem das Seine (03:16)
3. Road to Perdition: Main Theme (03:52)
4. American Beauty: Plastic Bag Theme (02:51)
5. American Beauty: Dead Already (03:18)
6. The Horse Whisperer: End Title (03:37)
7. The Green Mile (04:00)
8. Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events: The Letter That Never Came (04:00)
9. Little Women (04:10)
10. Cinderella Man (05:31)
11. Finding Nemo: Finding Nemo / Nemo Egg (02:34)
12. Meet Joe Black: Whisper of a Thrill (06:16)
13. Six Feet Under: Theme (02:11)
14. The Shawshank Redemption: End Titles (03:51)
Total Duration: 00:51:59
September 17, 2008
One of my favorite writers of short stories has been Roald Dahl with many of his quirky tales being adapted to the Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Tales of the Unexpected. Night Digger was based on the Joy Cowley novel “Nest in a Falling Tree”, adapted by Dahl and starred his wife Patricia Neal. Patricia is quite close to my heart having also survived a serious stroke. This English thriller about a spinster, her blind mother, and a psycho biker handyman came to and left the silver screen quickly. The film also starred Nicholas Clay and Pamela Brown and was directed by Alastair Reid. Today the film is quite obscure and one would be hard pressed to find a copy at all. Thanks to Label X and John Lasher the soundtrack, by Bernard Herrmann, has been re-released and is currently readily available.
Herrmann, true to his cantankerous personality, created some conflict by trying to change the ending to the story to the objections of Dahl. When the dust settled Herrmann was given the compromise of recording location and final mix of the sound but the ending remained unchanged.
Numerous tracks are the norm for a Herrmann score, his latest new re-release from Tribute Film Classics The Kentuckian having (48) for less than 60 minutes of material. However, Night Digger is called” Scenario Macabre for Orchestra” for a total of 43 minutes and divided into only (7) sections making this soundtrack flow a whole lot easier than some of his others. According to Herrmann’s instructions the 7 tracks are arranged in sequential order. So, if you are familiar with the film, the music is in correct order. The last track is a bonus being a short one-minute haunting harmonica solo from Tommy Reilly. Parts of this music are very similar to the style that Herrmann used in his Psycho score and to a lesser extent Sisters. The score was written for harmonica (the biker), tenor viola (tragic love), and small string ensemble giving it a “British sound for thriller pictures” according to critic Royal S. Brown. It has the Herrmann trademark of a motif being repeated over and over and over and over. While it has some sections of louder dissonant jump in your seat scary passages, most of it is rather subdued, somber, dark, and downright eerie. This style of horror/terror music written in the psychological way it is has a far greater impact on this reviewer than some of the newer clanking shrieking material. It doesn’t have to be ear squeaking to be effective. The agonizing tragic love theme, not unlike Vertigo makes your heart yearn for that happy ending that we know is not going to happen in this film.
This is a re-release of material from1994/1996. This reviewer felt this was an improved, better sounding recording from the compilation release of 1996 which includes Battle of Neretva and a suite from Sisters. The new release also has an additional bonus track and (5) minutes of material. Finding some of this out of print material can be a challenge so purchasing this new release while still available is the logical choice for listeners of Bernard Herrmann. While this is not his best material, even less than Herrmann is far better than most soundtracks. Recommended.
Rating is (***½)
Produced by JSR Lasher
Remix Engineer is Michael Lynch
1. Scenario one (06:28)
2. Scenario two (04:09)
3. Scenario three (05:46)
4. Scenario four (06:17)
5. Scenario five (08:33)
6. Scenario six (06:47)
7. Scenario seven (05:29)
8. Billy’s theme / Harmonica suite (01:02)
Total Duration: 00:44:31
September 15, 2008
A good solid building block for your collection is the Cincinnati Pops release of “Three Choral Suites.” Part of a project planned late in his career, Miklos had begun to create individual suites for Ben Hur, Quo Vadis, and King of Kings. His poor health (stroke) and passing away prevented him from completing the project, but master reconstruction arrangers Robbins, Palmer, and Kershaw created a wonderful one-hour suite with special help and encouragement from his son Nick Rozsa. Do not be mislead by the title either. While there are several tracks featuring the 360 members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, there are many orchestral tracks as well, creating a nice blend of each that complement one another. This is not just about choral music, far from it!
The CD begins with six selections from Dr. Rozsa’s third and final Oscar winner Ben Hur. The brass driven Overture has to be ranked as one of the finer melodies created for the screen. Proud and majestic, to this day it still sends “shivers up my spine” whenever I hear it. The same can also be said for the Alleluia track. Listen to the splendor of the voices of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir through nice speakers or headphones and one will quickly be convinced of how superior these singers are. And they are all volunteer voices, part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Also included in the suite is the now infamous Parade of the Charioteers performed by virtually every marching band the world over. Trumpets reign supreme in the proud statement of yet another great Rozsa theme. The final track Miracle and Finale restates the Overture as well as Alleluia. Robbins, who arranged and reconstructed Ben Hur, does a marvelous job with the blending of the two themes. Charlton Heston would be proud of the fine job that was done on this 20-minute suite.
Quo Vadis was the first of many epic films that Rozsa would do in his career. This film was prior to cinemascope but the table had been set for many of the religious biblical films. The 1951 film starring Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, and Peter Ustinov was a Roman tale of boy meets girl with jealousy from another suitor the result. It was nominated for several academy awards including the score, but this was the winning year of A Place In The Sun for Franz Waxman and his wonderful score. Rozsa seemed to be so at home with this type of venue and the score is certainly no exception. His time spent in his early years in the Gewandhaus choir certainly contributed to the wonderful choral passages. Beginning with a trumpet fanfare you are lead to the choir, which reveals the main theme in this Prelude. The Assyrian Dance could have come right from the Rimsky-Korsakov classical work Scheherazade oboe lead with that mystical Oriental flavor and if you weren’t familiar with it you would have been easily tricked! The Miracle and Finale restates the themes once again with chorus and a small amount of spoken commentary. Quite religious in flavor it draws this second suite to a powerful conclusion. This suite had several people working on the transcription. Palmer, Kershaw, Price, and even Erich Kunzel contributed to it.
The 1961 film King of Kings starring Jeffrey Hunter playing Christ, was the only one of the three that did not garner an Oscar nomination for Miklos. In fact it garnered no nominations at all but was a huge success at the box office returning 25 million dollars far surpassing the 6 million dollar budget. Some will argue that this was Dr. Rozsa’s crowning achievement and by far the finest of three represented in this suite. The film is one that the seasoned soundtrack listener will identify the Lost Weekend score in the track of Miracles of Christ. One can hear that straining heartache of the theme, which so often identifies Rozsa in his compositions. The pattern of restating the main theme is again used in Resurrection and Finale. Daniel Robbins is again responsible for the arranging and reconstruction and gives us a nice overview of the composition.
Recording engineer Jack Renner has been involved with Telarc from the very beginning and the outstanding quality of the recording is again evident. The DSD system used, developed by Philips and Sony, is state of the art and gives a breathtaking sound from your system. Classical lovers will enjoy this recording as a slightly different area to their collection. The soundtrack collector who has yet to purchase any of the many choices of OST material would totally enjoy this CD. It is put in the category of a building block or top 100 scores to have in your collection. It gives you 20 minutes each, a nice selection of material from the films. If you already own some of the OST material the recording will merely complement your collection. This is one of those CD’s that could fall into the category of a recording to have if you are stuck on a deserted island. Repeated listens just enhance the listening pleasure. Erich Kunzel/Cincinnati Pops have yet another winner in there long list. Highly recommended and takes it place in the top 100 soundtrack recordings of all time. While we are on the subject of Rozsa don’t be afraid to check out his string concertos on Telarc CD80518. He has a lot more to offer the listener than just film music.
Golden Scores Rating is (****1/2)
Produced by Robert Woods
Engineer Jack Renner
Performed by Cincinnati Pops, Erich Kunzel conductor.
Craig Jessop directs the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Telarc CD# is CD-80631
1. Overture (3:52)
2. Star of Bethlehem/Adoration of the Magi (3:51)
3. Rowing of the Galley Slaves (2:39)
4. Alleluia (2:08)
5. Parade of the Charioteers (3:25)
6. Miracles and Finale (5:29)
7. Prelude (1:46)
8. Ave Caesar March (4:12)
9. Fertility Hymn (1:15)
10. Assyrian Dance (1:57)
11. Marcus and Lygia (4:50)
12. Miracles and Finale (4:03)
King of Kings
13. Overture (4:02)
14. Roman Legions (1:35)
15. Nativity (1:58)
16. The Feast of Passover (2:05)
17. Herod’s Feast (1:08)
18. Miracles of Christ (2:51)
19. The Lord’s Prayer (2:26)
20. Pieta (3:00)
21. Resurrection and Finale (2:23)
Total Time is 61:54
September 12, 2008
Alexander Dumas certainly ranks at the top of the charts when it comes to his books being made into films and for good reason. People love tales of swashbuckling, romance, and intrigue. It was decided very early on in the filming that there was so much to the story that it would be broken up into two parts. This version, which is the second half of the story stars Michael York, Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain, Raquel Welch, Faye Dunaway, and Charlton Heston among others. Directed by veteran director Richard “Superman” Lester the film benefited from a good cast and is considered to be one of the better efforts in the long series of remakes.
Lalo Schifrin has added his own signature sound to the 17th century Baroque strains creating a unique listening experience. “The Four Musketeers”, the main theme, is a rousing cue-using period instruments as well as full symphony orchestra. There is a nice tribute to Korngold, famous for his swashbuckling scores, in the beginning of the cue, a very nice touch. “Athos’s Theme” is a lush romantic sounding cue that again combines the period instruments with traditional strings, guitar, and harp. This theme is also repeated in “Milady’s Theme”, “Milady’s Secret”, “Milady’s Frustration”, and “Milady in Prison.” To add a modern flare of suspense you can clearly hear one of the motifs from Mission Impossible in “The Fight.” It conjured up thoughts of Barney and Jim sneaking around trying to defeat the bad guys yet again. “A Lovely Adventure” is a very traditional Bach sounding piece from the era. “Chased From the Louvre” has that French sound of a Jarre or Legrand (composer of the first half) coupled with a modern sounding Baroque.
This new release has the advantage of having additional cues obtained from the composer in 1977 on ¼“ tape-recorded at 7.5 IPS. Apparently, the original 15IPS master tapes had been destroyed. In this reviewers opinion it would have been better to have separated the additional cues and included them as bonus material after the original 8 cues. The audible difference, as explained in the liner notes, is going to be apparent, being from another source other than the original cues, and that variance is magnified when put between two master tape sources. If you listen to “The Musketeers Rescue Constance” followed by “Breakfast at the Bastion” and finally “A Lovely Adventure” the flattened out frequency response is painfully apparent in the middle cue. The difference you’ll hear especially in the higher frequency response is assuming that you are listening on quality equipment. While I could clearly hear the difference in the cues on my nicer stereo, with and without headphones I could not detect anything when it was played in my CD clock radio. Do not let this influence your buying decision! It is much better to have the material and just re-program your player. The original release on Label X (LXCD05) had tracks from The Four Musketeers and material from Voyage of the Damned but has been unavailable for many years.
This is one of those recordings that are a step above. Mission Impossible influences on Baroque music? Don’t put anything past Schifrin. Lalo pulled it off with ease. Recommended.
Main Titles Rating is ****
Produced by J.S.R. Lasher
Engineered by Toby Learmont
1. The Four Musketeers (Main Theme)
2. Athos’s Theme
3. The Chase To The Convent
4. The Musketeers Rescue Constance
5. Breakfast At The Bastion *
6. A Lovely Adventure
7. Chased From The Louvre
8. Milady’s Theme*
9. Operation Rochefort *
10. Milady’s Secret*
11. The Frozen Pond Fight
12. Milady’s Frustration *
13. The Fight *
14. Milady In Prison *
15. Intrigue *
16. The Cardinal’s Jackal*
17. The Four Musketeers (End Credits)
*7.5 IPS Material
Total Time is 41:34
September 11, 2008
Universal Studios in the 30’s and 40’s produced a long series of horror movies featuring Dracula, Frankenstein, Mummy, Wolfman, and Invisible Man. They were quite loosely tied together from the previous episode such as Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman continuing forward to House of Frankenstein. In this case the Wolfman (Lon Chaney Jr.) and Frankenstein (Glenn Strange) were washed away and drowned forever or were they? Apparently they weren’t killed but frozen, just waiting to create more havoc on mankind with the help of Dr. Niemann (Boris Karloff) and a hunchback (J. Carroll Naish) who sought revenge on those that sent him them to prison for his weird experiments. In addition, Dracula (John Carradine) is involved in the true chamber of horror as an exhibit in Lampini’s traveling sideshow and Elena “Marcus Welby” Verdugo appears as a gypsy girl in love with the Wolfman. Also appearing in the film are veteran horror stars Lionel Atwill and George Zucco. Written by Curt “Donovan Brain” Siodmak and directed by veteran horror director Erle C. Kenton it was an attempt to compete with the more is better philosophy against RKO who had countered Universal with a series of Val Lewton terror films which were far more psychological in nature and frankly while lower budget much better films. Younger people today may laugh at their parent’s love and interest for films like this compared to what they watch but being of the older generation these were what we grew up on. There was nothing to do other than wait to watch them when they came on television (no VHS or DVD so at a fairly early age when small tape recorders (reel to reel) became available this reviewer figured out a way to attach a wire to the TV to record the sound portion of the film. That way a person could listen to the music over and over again and this is how I was introduced to Hans Salter.
Hans Salter like Korngold and Waxman made his escape from the Third Reich in 1937 to American soil and quickly found his way to Hollywood, took a position as an orchestrator for Universal, moved up to composer and with Frank Skinner the dynamic duo cranked out film after film. The other half in the case of House of Frankenstein was Paul Dessau influenced heavily by Arnold Schoenberg who also influenced Alban Berg a teacher of Hans Salter. Together in a couple of weeks they crafted a 55 minute score filled with some original material as well as cuts from the other horror movies a common practice at Universal. Of all of the scores crafted by Salter and company this one stands out as a true symphony of horrors. Yes the patchwork quilting of the cues does show through a bit and it would have benefited in the reconstruction with less tracks but it is a soundtrack to a film, which we sometimes forget.
From the opening of the “Universal Signature” fanfare leading into the “Main Title” which makes an effective reference to the yearning wolfman theme, the score is off and running with theme’s and musical styles which puts it into a most listenable score away from the film. In fact while seeing the film can be a lot fun, it really doesn’t add a great deal to the listening experience. This is not one of those scores where you scratch your head and say I just don’t get why it is written the way it is. “Gypsy Tantrums” is a nice example of a short but effective gypsy dance with a lovely theme that you’re going to remember. “Off to Vasaria” which was also used in Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman is the perfect cue for traveling music. “Dracula Pursued” is a frantic paced chase sequence. “Monstrosities” is a sequence where the Wolfman and Frankenstein are discovered in ice by Niemann and Daniel (Naish), a nice example of very effective writing and orchestration. “Wolfman Revived” plays the transformation music from man to wolf as well as the famous leitmotif of the monster. “Dan’s Love” is a fine yearning theme depicting Ilonka’s (Verdugo) love for Dan (Lon Chaney Jr.). Each and every cue has a theme albeit it might have been used in any number of Universal films; it is still one that somehow fits the scene. The fun of some of the cues is you can be watching a Sherlock Holmes film and suddenly you hear one from Ghost of Frankenstein. There is no droning, shrieking off key violins or wordless wailing in the background.
The overall playing of the Moscow Symphony is in a word outstanding. There are a couple of places where I felt that they were a bit tentative and a couple of spots where I thought the tempo slow but all of the different orchestral sections from the violins, woodwinds, brass, timpani/percussion and especially the organ performed this score to near perfection. Stromberg and Morgan had to be most pleased with the effort. This is far better than the previous attempt that Penny and the RTE Concert Orchestra did on Marco Polo 8.223477 attempted. Laugh if you must but this is one of those rare times that the (*****) rating is given. This CD is now available on the budget Naxos label #8.570188.
Golden Score Rating (*****)
Marco Polo # 8.223748
Engineered by Edvard Shakhnazarian and Vitaly Ivanov
Produced by Betta International
2. Main Title (2:17)
3. Lightning Strikes (1:47)
4. Gruesome Twosome Escape (1:50)
5. Strangulation (0:30)
6. Off to Vasaria (1:18)
7. Chamber of Horrors (0:40)
8. Dracula Restored (1:30)
9. Dracula’s Ring (1:28)
10. The Burgomaster Murdered (2:06)
11. Rendezvous with Dracula (2:34)
12. The World Beyond (1:29)
13. Dracula Pursued (1:44)
14. Dracula Destroyed (1:09)
15. Gypsy Tantrums (1:47)
16. Ilonka Whipped (1:07)
17. Dan’s Love (3:23)
18. The Ruins (1:37)
19. The Monstrosities (2:02)
20. Wolf Man Revived (2:13)
21. Show Me the Records (2:22)
22. Travels (0:35)
23. Hunchback’s Jealousy (1:51)
24. Niemann’s Revenge (1:07)
25. Liquefying Brains (1:12)
26. Niemann’s Revenge (1:07)
27. The Pentagram (1:37)
28. Full Moon (1:15)
29. Silver Bullet (3:33)
30. Dr. Niemann Successful (1:24)
31. The Moon is Full (1:18)
32. Larry at Peace (1:36)
33. Dr. Niemann Attacked (1:36)
34. Death of the Unholy Two (1:14)
35. End Cast (0:28)
Total Time is 55:26
September 4, 2008
Seldom am I allowed the opportunity to discuss a book, as frankly there aren’t a whole lot of books written about anyone connected to the film industry. While soundtracks these days are being released daily, newly found material being re-discovered, re-mastering of old classics, and new recordings of golden age material, new books seem to be more on a yearly basis. Well this is my chance to talk about not only a wonderful film composer but a jazz and classical musician and composer as well.
Published by Scarecrow Press as part of their jazz series (56 so far), it is edited by Richard Palmer author and editor of numerous jazz publications. Included with the book is an audio CD of material taken from the Aleph label (Lalo owned), a really nice compilation of his music career. The name Aleph came about as a result of the fact that most record companies didn’t know how to categorize him. The story by Borges, El Aleph has to do with the converging of all events in the universe, thus the label name. And I thought it was named after the first name of the Hebrew alphabet meaning a leader!
The book is divided into 8 sections beginning with Roots and Beginnings, Gillespiana, Film, Symphonic Variations, Donna, and others. The material on Dizzy Gillespie is priceless and worth getting the book for that section alone. He was called Dizzy for a reason and the tales are well dizzy! A quote from Dizzy I’ll always remember is “To be or not to bop”, the beginning of one of the chapters.
There is only one section in the book about his involvement in the film business, even though his scores and composer work number nearly 200 in the IMDB database, over twice the amount of other compositions. The story about William “Exorcist” Friedkin is one that you must read. It will surprise you as much as it did me! His Emmy award winning Mission Impossible, while not the original television soundtrack is given a very nice jazz treatment and the “Shifting Gears” track from Bullitt are included on the CD. While on the subject of films Bullitt is a must have score for your collection and the finest movie material Lalo ever did.
The 9 tracks of the CD are an excellent compilation of recorded material that Lalo did over the years. His use of the Stravinsky Firebird Suite as a bridge between songs that Charlie Parker performed was extremely well orchestrated and the highlight of the CD. There are also selections from Letters from Argentina, Jazz Mass, Gillespiana, and Sketches of Miles. All of the material has superb arranging, taking it a step above the ‘pops arrangements’ one might hear at a summer concert, with D’Rivera, Tate, Brown, and especially Jon Faddis on the trumpet adding the right flavor of jazz.
The center of the book offers over 20 pages of photo covering a wide range of his life. The printing I’m sorry to report doesn’t do justice to the quality making some of them quite dark, gray, and muddy flat contrast. While we are not buying a picture book and I’m not suggesting for a moment that this is a reason not to buy the book it would have been nice if the quality could have been better.
In conclusion, I found this book to be a pleasant and easy read, material that I will go back to for reference from time to time especially the composer credits and discography. Even soundtrack collectors will find this volume to be acceptable. If one were to subtract $16.95 for the cost of the CD a price of only $13.00 would be an excellent bargain for this book. As far as I know the CD will not be offered separately. Recommended. The book is available thru normal outlets and the publisher. http://www.scarecrowpress.com/Catalog/Singlebook.shtml?command=Search&db=%5EDB/CATALOG.db&eqSKUdatarq=0810859467
1… Mission: Impossible (3:11)
2… Sketches of Miles (12:27)
3…Letters from Argentina (4:53)*
4… Ins and Outs (5:06)
5… Latin Jazz Suite (7:35)*
6… Shifting Gears (3:12)
7… Jazz Mass (6:25)*
8… Charlie Parker (14:17)
Total Time is 71:41
* Part of a work