Thursday, July 20, 2017

Mystery Album #6 !!

The only hint that I'll give is that it's Jazz + France

Various Artists
1960 - 80's

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Dance of the Vampires OST !!

This is today's find at Vinal Edge. I found the premise of the movie, and the fact that it was directed by Roman Polanski intriguing. With this post, I feel that I've assuaged my need to share soundtracks. So, the next post will be a Mystery Album #6. Until then ....

[aka The Fearless Vampire Killers] The score for The Dance of the Vampires probably sounded just as strange in 1967 as it does today. The film was marketed as a horror farce, but it sounds like Polish composer Krzysztof Komeda had slightly different thoughts in mind. The score is not completely macabre nor is it completely tongue-in-cheek. Instead it inhabits this weird space in between that draws on both traits at the same time. It’s eerie but not frightening, legitimate but not serious. And some of its main themes ride upon instrumentation that could strike listeners today as almost alien. Harpsichord and upright bass with wordless incantations from a wavering choir sitting just a few tracks away from strings and woodwinds and drum-backed kitsch reminiscent of Rocky Horror—it begs the questions “Is this a joke?” and “Are you trying to freak me out?” simultaneously. It sounds slightly dated, but not in the ways one would think.

With 19 tracks clocking in at just a hair over thirty minutes, The Dance of the Vampires is not a large score. Shortening it even more is the fact that many of the themes are repeated with sometimes very little variation. For instance, the “Main Title” at the start is almost identical to the closing number “Herbert’s Song” (the latter is longer by about two minutes). The slowed minor key vibratos of the choir are the driving force on these two tracks, using the harpsichord as a piece of archaic window-dressing. “Sarah in Bath” is an acappella “Snowman” sped up to a moderate tempo. And “Snowman” is a guitar and oboe waltz that mutates into a minor-key chant for “Koukol Laughs”. Then it goes back to being “Snowman” for the start of “Sarah’s Song”. “Sarah Asks for a Bath - Love Tune”, which appropriates the opening theme, is probably the least romantic twenty-two seconds of the program. Between these numbers are incidental cues that visually set scenes (as they should). 

Krzysztof Komeda
1967



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Organization OST !!

World premiere release of vibrant 1971 soundtrack to third and final film starring Sidney Poitier as Police Lt. Virgil Tibbs, a commanding role begun with IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT. Gil Melle takes over scoring reins from Quincy Jones, creates dynamic, exciting score for orchestra with meld of jazz flavor, complex orchestral color. Evidence found in master tape boxes plus correspondence with late composer's spouse suggests discussions were in play to release brief album at time of initial film release, during heyday of United Artists Records 25-29 minute souvenirs of UA movies, albeit LP never materialized. Short running time is offset by vivid stereo audio from 1/4" two-track masters courtesy of MGM which feature most of score's major set-pieces. Gil Melle conducts. Intrada Special Collection release limited to 1000 copies! -Amazon.com

Gil Mellé
1971




Gil Mellé

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Anastasia Mio Fratello OST !!

First off, I've two requested re-ups: the Abbey Lincoln, and William Onyeabor posts. I appreciate all of you who visit and enjoy this blog, and I'm never bothered by requests. I always try to fulfill them in a timely manner, so don't hesitate asking. The easiest method for me is to message this blogs Facebook page. And now, today's album... Very typical of Piero, this soundtrack contains elements of Jazz, Funk, Big Band, and Pop. Even if film scores really aren't your thing, his work is worth adding to your library. I have shared this album before back in 2013, but the link is long dead, and it fits in with my recent theme of OSTs. So, here we are :) Enjoy!

GDM Music presents for the first absolute time on CD the OST by Piero Piccioni for the movie "Anastasia mio fratello ovvero il presunto capo dell'anonima Assassini" (aka" My Brother Anastasia") directed in 1973 by Steno and starring Alberto Sordi and Richard Conte. Don Salvatore (Sordi) leaves Calabria to fly to New York where he is assumed as vice-parish priest in Santa Lucia, Little Italy. His brother Alberto, known as Big Al among friends, is believed the boss of Italian criminal organization specializing in murders, but Don Salvatore does not realize about this situation. When Alberto is put on a trial (and later is killed after detention), Don Salvatore comes back to Italy, still convinced about his brother's innocence. Piero Piccioni has written one of the best scores of his long artistic relationship with Alberto Sordi alternating American flavoured Beat style music to extremely melodic music. For this CD, besides the original album stereo master tape, the complete stereo session master tapes were used that gave the chance to use beyond half hour of extra music previously unreleased and properly restored and remastered in digital. -Amazon.com

Piero Piccioni
1973




Piero P.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Forbidden World OST !!

I recently bought this soundtrack on a whim while making a pit stop at Vinal Edge Records here in Houston, which is honestly the best record store in town. I didn't look it up on Youtube, since I tend to buy records the old fashion way: take a chance and hear whatever it may be. It's pressed on beautiful clear vinyl, and came with not one, but two posters from the film. Enjoy ...

Unavailable since the film's release in 1982, Susan Justin’s music for FORBIDDEN WORLD – produced by the legendary Roger Corman – mixes the electronic influences of the time with splashes of new wave, creating a score that fuses the eerie tonalities and avant-garde sensibility of ALIEN with the straight-up funk of ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13. Birthed from this is a cult classic score that deserves to be held up alongside the works of Richard Band and Alan Howarth.

What immediately stands out from the score is the amazing main theme, a melodic groove firmly embedded in the 80s synth movement, complete with creepy vocal effects overlaying its driving keyboard line. Originally a parody that Corman turned into a straight horror, the score is used typically to create tension with isolated piano and harsh electronic tones, acting as a stereotypical precursor to the horror moments. Amidst all this is also the ‘Blaster Beam’, a unique instrument famous for its use in Jerry Goldsmith’s STAR TREK – THE MOTION PICTURE. A fantastic voyage amongst the stars full of offbeat melodies and alien tones, this is a musical world that demands multiple visits. -Mondotees.com

Susan Justin
1982




Thursday, July 6, 2017

La France Interdite OST !!

France, 1984. A Shakespearian quotation opens the hostilities of a film that claims to be the bearer of a disturbing truth and a neutral look at the unavowable taboos of French society. Over the hour and a half, the film unfolds without transitions scenes following episodes of the lives of people frequenting the "under" of France, these deviant spaces where anonymous indulge in unlimited freedom of manners.

André Georget's incredible music also contributes to this ambiguity, making film fiction a reality, until it ends up integrating a field almost mythological, enriching the Countries of a shadow zone just waiting to be cleared. It is not for nothing that the film ends with the unusual and exalting image of a young woman naked galloping on horseback: a scene can only be inspired by myths and folk legends, yet coming to be part of the supposed Reality unveiled by La France Interdite . -Film Exposure

André Georget
1983


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Colpo Rovente OST !!

Well, I'm back into another major soundtrack binge. And, so it begins ... Expect plenty of them for many posts to come. Some are albums I've already had up years ago, so it's a chance to re-up links that you may have missed out on, or didn't know you wanted. Enjoy!

Colpo Rovente was released a couple of years before the Giallo boom in the early seventies, and the film is more like the American film noir movement than Italy's finest cinematic export. Indeed, the film is often called a 'psychedelic noir' and this atmosphere is achieved through some bizarre set design and the soundtrack. The film also features a voice-over, which serves in giving it that classic noir feel. Colpo Rovente is set in New York, and unlike a lot of Italian films set in America; actually does a decent job of making New York the central location. The plot reminded me more of the later Italian 'Polizi' films than a Giallo, and focuses on crime in New York. Frank is a police inspector that was on the case of MacBrown; the head of a pharmaceutical company, and suspected of dealing in drugs. However, Frank was pulled off the case and shortly thereafter; MacBrown is murdered in the middle of a group of people by an unseen assassin. Frank is called in to investigate the murder. But the dead bodies soon start to pile up...

Given the time in which it was made, Piero Zuffi's only feature film as a director isn't as sordid or as gory as what we would later come to associate Italian cult films with. But the film makes up for its lack of sex and blood with a fairly engaging plot line and some great visuals. It has to be said that the plot line moves a little sluggishly in places, and in typical Italian style; it doesn't always make sense, but generally it has enough to keep the audience watching and patience is rewarded with a great little twist at the end. The cast isn't very notable, but future Giallo heroine Barbara Bouchet stands out. Bouchet looks particularly tasty in this one, as she gets to don a stylish black wig! The plot takes in ideas of the 'horrors' of organised crime, and although it doesn't quite analyse them to any substantial extent; Colpo Rovente does feel like a film that has had some thought put into it. Overall, I can't say that this is one of the best Italian movies I've seen, but it's certainly one of the more unique ones and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to the cult fan! -IMDB.com

Piero Piccioni
1970


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Sings Johnny Mercer !!

Bobby Troup is better known as a composer ("Route 66") than performer, but the English CD reissue of Bobby Troup Sings Johnny Mercer, a mid-'50s studio session made for Bethlehem, showcases his vocals. Accompanying himself on piano on some of the tracks and accompanied by bassist Red Mitchell, guitarist Howard Roberts, drummer Don Heath, and valve trombonist Bob Enevoldsen, Troup explores a dozens pieces with lyrics by the masterful Mercer. Troup doesn't have a great vocal range, but his smooth singing style is very appealing. The selection of material includes rarities like the happy-go-lucky "Jamboree Jones" (a piece which also has music by Mercer), "I'm With You" (which he co-composed with Mercer), and the equally fun "Cuckoo in the Clock." Among the many standards present are the swinging but subtle take of "That Old Black Magic," cool instrumental arrangements of "Laura" and "Jeepers Creepers," and a mellow "Skylark." This mellow album is easily recommended. -Allmusic.com

Bobby Troup
1955

Friday, June 30, 2017

(Dance to) the Best of Bostic !!

Earl Bostic was the king of the King record label prior to the arrival of James Brown. As a disciple of Louis Jordan, Bostic's approach to the alto saxophone was a departure, straddling the line between bar walking honking and an out-and-out instrumental crooning style. This collection is a very good one in that it expresses the many types of jazz, blues and R&B Bostic embraced. And one has to remember when these tunes were recorded -- 1951 to 1956 -- years of transitions from swing and bop to race records where more sophisticated tastes were at odds with the putatively square music being presented on a new thing called television. Bostic's music, as the title suggests, was also danceable. His easy swinging big hit from 1951 "Flamingo" kicks off the set, defining smooth well before illegitimate "smooth jazz" was coined. A few jazz standards are included, with an interesting take of "Always" as Bostic comes in late, a rocking shuffle swing ideal for the normally rendered ballad "Deep Purple," a vibrato laden Bostic with shimmering vibraphone behind him during "I Cant Give You Anything but Love," and an outstanding, slow, heart melting rendition of "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You." "Steam Whistle Jump" is clearly a knock-off of "Take the 'A' Train." Where Bostic expertly excels in a manner as potent as Gene Ammons is on the soul-jazz side of things. His energetic "What, No Pearls?" is a rocking time capsule for the era, and "Seven Steps" grooves with a Latin twist. Bostic's saxophone trades quick melody snippets with guitar on the most intriguing cut of the date, the jam "Don't You Do It." Not a definitive collection, but a fine cross-section of the meatier and substantive side of Earl Bostic, with no filler or the string dominated pop style music he eventually presented. -Allmusic.com

Earl Bostic
1960

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Crime Scene !!

One of the kitschier installments in the Ultra Lounge series, Vol. 7,
Crime Scene features a cross-section of easy-listening and movie music
culled primarily from Capitol Records' vaults. All of the songs are
allegedly "about" or inspired by detective and crime novels and
films, so you have movie and television themes (Nelson Riddle's
"The Untouchables," "Peter Gunn Suite" as performed by
Ray Anthony), as well as songs whose titles imply a crime
connection of some sort. It's an enjoyable collection ... -Allmusic.com

Various Artists
1950 - 70's

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

And The "Cool" Sounds !!

Stan Getz plays with five different lineups on the recordings from 1954
and 1955 featured on Stan Getz and the Cool Sounds. The cool-toned,
mellow tenor saxophonist starts off with four tracks accompanied by
pianist Lou Levy, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Shelly Manne,
with the easygoing swinger "Our Love Is Here to Stay" taking top honors.
Valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer is added to the mix for two quintet
selections, both of which feature pianist John Williams anchoring two
different rhythm sections. The very hot "Flamingo" finds Getz and Brook-
meyer alternating choruses and engaging in intricate counterpoint, while
Brookmeyer's "Rustic Hop" cooks at an even higher temperature, with
both players inspiring one another to the top of their respective games.
Pianist Jimmy Rowles, drummer Max Roach, and bassist Bobby Whit-
lock back Getz in a swinging take of "Nobody Else But Me" and the
overlooked chestnut "Down by the Sycamore Tree." Trumpeter Tony
Fruscella, who died far too young, takes Brookmeyer's place in two
works written by the underrated trumpeter and composer Phil Sunkel,
the mid-tempo "Blue Bells" and the boogie-woogie-
flavored "Roundup Time." -Allmusic.com

Bass – Bill Anthony (tracks: A5 to B2), Bill Crow (tracks: B5), Bob Whitlock (tracks: B3, B4), Leroy Vinnegar (tracks: A1 to A4)
Drums – Al Levitt (tracks: B5), Frank Isola (tracks: A5 to B2), Max Roach (tracks: B3, B4), Shelly Manne (tracks: A1 to A4)
Piano – Jimmy Rowles (tracks: B3, B4), John Williams (5) (tracks: A5 to B2, B5), Lou Levy (tracks: A1 to A4)
Tenor Saxophone – Stan Getz (tracks: A1 to A5)
Trombone – Bob Brookmeyer (tracks: A5)
Trumpet – Tony Fruscella (tracks: B1, B2)
Valve Trombone – Bob Brookmeyer (tracks: B5)

Stan Getz
1957

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Big Bend photos: What a vacation! Big Bend is absolutely gorgeous! 
Underneath are photos of the National Park, if you're interested.
It was a cool 85°F in the heat of the day (very atypical for far
southern Texas in midsummer). And ...we had a bear visitor!
Of all the places I've been, this is one of the most beautiful,
and desolate. Thanks again for your kind words, and
patience while I was away :)  -Ed aka ETHICS