March 22, 2015
Just when you think that you’ve heard everything there is in jazz, somebody comes up with something new in this case Seizer and his group and they play movie music but not just any movie music but soundtrack themes that you’d thought impossible. The theme from “Alien” was the first that got my attention. You remember that scary movie back in 1979 with Sigourney Weaver. It was an eerie suspense building theme that definitely got your attention as you sat in the darkened theater. Jerry Goldsmith hit a homerun with that one but I’m sure if he heard this pure jazz part melody, part improvisation he’d clap for an encore.
Born in Stuggart to a musical family he began playing the flute and recorder at the age of 4 winning classical music contests along the way. He continued his musical studies at the Hilversum Conservatory and then discovered John Coltrane at the age of 23 and has been playing ever since.
Seizer, now 50, has surrounded himself with young talent that compliment his playing. They consist of Pablo Held on piano, Matthias Pichter on bass, and Fabian Arends on drums. They know what each other wants to do and they do so like a finely tuned machine. Take for example “Spartacus” as it opens with the delicate Bill Evan’s sound from Held with quiet bass lines and just a whisper of the cymbals preparing us for the entrance of the raspy but oh so mellow Seizer who seems to be in no hurry as his scales are distinct. Pichter is given a turn to display his talents with crisp positive strokes being supported by select harmony from the bass and percussion. He turns the song over to Seizer who completes the fine Alex North composition. The opening selection Carlotta’s Portrait from “Vertigo” begins with a steady somewhat relentess rhythm from the bass with the piano next being added both a prelude to the raspy but distinct line from the tenor sax. The entire track is simple uncomplicated but the three together make for an excellent track. If it was anymore laid back I might fall asleep? “On the Waterfront” opens with the tenor sax of Seizer complimented by percussion, piano chords, and bass. The original soundtrack and the after thought suite by Bernstein feature a trumpet but the tenor sax playing with a bit of Coltrane playing takes this to an entirely new concept. A favorite film of Jason’s is “The Deer Hunter” along with the Cavatina theme from Stanley Meyers. The arrangement is a soft smooth one with the piano and sax sharing time. You’ll be hard pressed or at least I was to recognize the “Jungle Book” theme which takes you to a new higher level in jazz. Seizer allows himself to soar and explore lines ascending and descending chords adding a quicker pace. Held is also allowed to run with chords and harmony which compliment the track. One of the lovelier themes from the pen of Morricone was “Cinema Paradiso” which Held gives a classical touch with Seltzer doing a bit of improv with a little bit of squeeking to grab your attention.
Although Seizer is new to me he has several CD’s to his credit and I look forward to more from him perhaps a volume two of film music that offers some film noir material. The sound recording is superb but there is an absence of no liner notes only pictures.
1. Carlotta’s Portrait · from »Vertigo« 1958 (3:13)
2. Cinema Paradiso · from »Cinema Paradiso« 1988 (7:49)
3. Steve’s Care · from »The Machinist« 2004 (6:39)
4. On The Waterfront · from »On the Waterfront« 1954 (4:30)
5. Cavatina · from »The Deer Hunter« 1978 (5:16)
6. Jungle Beat · from Walt Disney’s »The Jungle Book« (6:19)
7. Children’s Games · from »The Curious Case of Benjamin Button« 2008 (5:42)
8. Alien Main Theme · from »Alien« 1979 (6:03)
9. Spartacus Love Theme · from »Spartacus« 1960 (6:15)
Total time 51:51
January 25, 2015
MPS/ KULTUR SPIEGEL 020972MSW
Come On and Shine
My collection of Patrick Williams material began in the late 60’s when I purchased the soundtrack “How Sweet It Is,” “Shades of Today,” and “Think” both on the Verve label. I’ve collected and enjoyed his material, mostly LP, so this release on CD was a pleasant surprise for me. It is part of a 25 CD release which also includes Count Basie and Lionel Hampton both of which I also have. I also look forward to exploring additional titles from George Shearing, Joe Pass, and Stephane Grapelli among others.
The first track, the unofficial main theme, “Come On And Shine” features the New York Section with a strong presence from the brass, some good keyboard work from Dave Grusin, who went on to compose some great material of his own, effective use of a vocal group in the background, and solo sax work from Lou Marini. The group has a good feel for the funky track and you hear it loud and clear. It made me want to crank up the amp and listen loud through my Interaudio speakers. The chorus said little other than shine but their whispers in parts were quite effective with the sax of Marini. I’m including it as an audio clip which will give you a good feel as to what this album about. As you listen to the arrangement you’ll hear the instruments enter one by one: guitar, snare drum, keyboards, trumpets, and vocal section. “One For My Three” follows in a similiar vein with the saxes of Niewood, Marini, and Cuber taking center stage with able backing from Grusin. “Lou Grant Theme” will bring back memories and is dominated by Jerome Richardson on Alto Sax. “And We Will Love Again,” a perfect love song offers Kahn on Guitar, Grusin on piano, and Toots Thielemans on Harmonica. This offering also has strings to give it a lushness and even more romance. “Sail On” spotlights the talent of Steve Kahn with able backing from Dave Grusin. The Bob Newhart Theme, “Home to Emily” is one of the more popular television themes with Sunny Burke of the Los Angeles section being featured on the Fender Rhodes. “Barrio” showcases the talents of Pete Christlieb on Tenor Sax reminding me of the sax work on “Taxi Driver,” a Bernard Herrmann soundtrack. A wonderful lush arrangement and melody from Patrick. The talent of the Latin percussion of Larry Bunker is an added bonus. “The Late Night Wizzard” again features the talent of Toots this time in a funky style that will sure to please your audio canals. The final selection “Blue Light” again returns to Los Angeles and some nifty sax work again from Pete Christlieb.
We’re so fortunate to have the talents of two Oscar winning/nomination talents of Dave Grusin and Patrick Williams. Be sure that you take the time to check this one out. I’ve enjoyed this recording for nearly 40 years and I’m sure you will too. The remastering is superb although I do kind of miss the surface noise of the LP. Come to think of it I might just dig it out again!
1…. Come On and Shine (6:20)
2…. One For My Three (2:12)
3…. Lou Grant Theme (2:12)
4…. And We Will Love Again (5:10)
5…. Sail On (5:38)
6…. Home To Emily (5:52)
7…. Barrio (5:49)
8…. The Late Night Wizzard (6:10)
9…. Blue Light (2:58)
Tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, and 8 recorded in New York. Tracks 3, 6, 7, and 9 recorded in Los Angeles.