The Understudy/Carl Davis

February 2, 2010

Dying for stardom she finds a role to kill for is the tagline to this Conolly & Davis film The Understudy starring Marin Ireland, Paul Sparks, and Tom Wopat. Carl Davis, composer of the soundtrack and father of Hannah Davis co-director, also plays a small role as a saxophone killer in the film and is one of the executive producers. Remember all of this for a tough trivia question in years to come!

The Understudy is one of the (3) initial releases on the new Carl Davis Collection with The Music of Cranford and Alice in Wonderland being the other two offerings. The versatile Davis not only has over 100 soundtracks to his credit, film and television, but he writes for the theater and provides scores to some of the classic silent films. This reviewer welcomes this new label where hopefully a lot more of his material will be made available.

“Opening Titles-A New Day” sets the overall mood of jazz for the CD. The trumpet starts the upbeat bouncy melody and the entire 7-piece group gets their licks on something that could easily have come out of the 60’s. Carl uses this theme in several of the tracks but allows the material to go off in different directions. “Davidovitch” is a mourning tenor saxophone solo, improvisational, which again depicts the cool jazz of the area. “Blind Vertigo” is underscore that is a tribute to Herrmann and his score of the Hitchcock thriller Vertigo. A short track but it will be instantly recognizable to the seasoned soundtrack listener. “Casual Bossa” brings back the Bossa Nova in a lounge type atmosphere. “Released” is back to a cool sax solo from David White who managed to remain restrained throughout his improv. “Dead Mouse” again features the solo sax of White. At the end of the riff all you can say is cool man. “The La La La Song” will put you in another era when life was less complicated with both versions being categorized as the easy listening type of music that offers a nice background. This music actually took me back to the 30’s with a dance floor surrounded by tables filled with cocktails and smoke with the orchestra members formally attired. “Rebecca’s Waltz” takes you back to the 19th century in a ballroom of elegance.

Overall this is a very digestible retro type score. There is nothing groundbreaking it is just nice to listen to. Recommended.

CD# is CDC002

Track listing

1. Opening Titles – A New Day (03:27)

2. Davidovitch (00:52)

3. Blind Vertigo (00:42)

4. Meet the Family (01:32)

5. Casual Bossa (02:05)

6. Released (01:40)

7. Restaurant (01:56)

8. Dead Mouse (01:24)

9. Fireman (00:28)

10. Won’t Stop (00:59)

11. Electioneering (00:53)

12. Thriller (00:45)

13. Arrest (01:13)

14. Rebecca’s Waltz (03:03)

15. Deli (02:04)

16. The La La La Song (Vocal Version) (03:23)

17. First Night (01:54)

18. The Coin (01:47)

19. “I’m On” (00:49)

20. The La La La Song (Instrumental) (03:18)

21. Greta (00:27)

22. Nutcake (01:43)

23. Retrieval (02:34)

24. Help (00:58)

25. Detectives (01:31)

26. Greta’s Death (01:30)

27. Waking (05:45)

28. Case Closed (00:33)