I, The Jury/Conti
October 30, 2013
I, The Jury was a film from the 80’s that I completely missed partly due to the fact that I’ve never been a Mickey Spillane fan, the author, and my experience with Armand Assante and Barbara Carrera was very limited. Even my experience with Bill Conti, the composer, consisted of albums of Rocky (1976) and The Formula (1980). This first time release of the score by La-La Land (LLLCD 1275) aroused my interest on the very first play. While there was nothing original the way that Conti composed there was a strong amount of originality in the way the patches formed the quilt. While many styles such as Schifrin, Hayes, Coleman, and other jazz appear in the soundtrack there isn’t one specific style that dominates. It wouldn’t be something you would hear at a Herbie Hancock jazz concert but there is an attraction to the overall material as it blends what a soundtrack should sound like with the world of improvisational jazz.
The Main Title features a frantic piano line that plays through the entire track that somewhat dominates creating a frenzy that the brass and saxophone seem to feed off of. The theme is repeated in the End Credits so it becomes the dominate melody of the soundtrack. As this is a soundtrack you’ll hear other styles that aren’t jazz improvisation but underscore material for the film. Just when you get settled in to the jazz style of music Conti throws in a Chopin Etude along with original material (Stairway to Surrogate) which is a variation of the main theme. The sudden statement from the sax toward the end of the track seems to bring the track back to the jazz base. This Chopin Etude is also featured in a bonus track Tribute to Mike Lang which begins with a small amount of conversation before the Etude begins. Velda’s Vamp puts you right back into the bluesy jazz style which exudes a bit of the Miles Davis style with the trumpet and then the sax soloing over the orchestra. A bit of Hancock piano briefly appears in Closet Cache and Kendrick’s Taxi Time, a series of dissonant chords. The jazz picks up again as an introduction to Michael’s Taxi Ride First with the orchestra offering a biting sound and then it shares with the string bass offering a solo. Concrete Chase Conclusion again shows off the talent of keyboard master Michael Lang with a series of calculated piano runs mixed in with bursts of energy from the brass. A hint of the tension Schifrin appears with lower register strings and selectively placed percussion to enhance what we see on the screen.
As with most of the newer re-releases today your treated to bonus tracks and there are 8 of them. Little information is given but it seems like all of the tracks are included. While the liner notes are up to the usual standards of La-La Land you might want to get out your dictionary like I did to look up certain words. You can look forward to a unique experience from Conti as he mixes traditional jazz with movie underscore material. Remember that this release is limited to 2000 units so at some point it will sell out. Recommended.
Total Duration: 01:00:33