A Dry White Season/Grusin
February 5, 2011
I first became acquainted with Dave Grusin not from the fine soundtracks he wrote for the silver screen but from an album called The Gershwin Connection, very nice light jazz arrangements featuring Gary Burton, Eddie Daniels, Lee Ritenour, and Chick Corea in addition to fine keyboard work from Dave. His jazz had good arrangements and was relatively easy to listen to but with enough complexity to make it a step above elevator music. As I explored his material further I became aware of some of his soundtrack material. I really never considered The Graduate as Grusin but Simon and Garfunkel but I did obtain The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and Mulholland Falls for their pretty themes. As I’ve become totally immersed in collecting I finally began to realize the large amount of material Dave has composed and he is now a staple in my collection.
The tragic film starring Donald Sutherland, Marlon Brando, and Susan Sarandon dealt with South Africa under apartheid, was something audiences didn’t want to see in spite of excellent reviews. Today it has had a bit of a revival and is somewhat more appreciated for what it was a fine film.
The Dave Grusin score including the bonus material is only 36 minutes but the transfer to CD is a superb one in stereo very clean, clear and crisp in the high end and a smooth bass in the low end.”Happier Times”, the main title, is music for a time of reflection with soft strings leading the way. “I Never Saw Him” is a return to the main title and again played low key and quite tragically. “Aftermath/Dead Children” (clip is included) is a trademark sound of Mark Isham, a trumpet playing lonely into the night. The trumpet is followed by some African rhythm and back to the trumpet for the conclusion of the music. “Demonstration” along with “The Search” is a militaristic style march complete with snare drum and brass.
The bonus tracks include two source cues of some interest. “Source Music #1 is a very sounding jazz Grusin featuring a rhythmic calypso style track very positive and upbeat. “Source Music #2 is another jazz track featuring the trumpet in a nice solo with the African beat a constant in the background.
Overall while on the shorter side this is a nice example of the versatile and easy listening nature of Dave Grusin. Bruce has done it again finding something that few of us were familiar with at all. As is usually the case with the Kritzerland releases they are limited to a 1000 units so it would be better to act sooner than later.
Produced by Bruce Kimmel