Music is often spoken of as forming the soundtrack of our lives. Movie score music compounds the effect, marrying melody with image, the exponential power of 24 frames per second combined with soaring tunes and magical counterpoint to provide all of us who love the movies a powerful emotional and cultural reference point, time and again. And who doesn't love a good movie or song?
These songs are standards in both the jazz and cinematic sense.
Compiling any sort of list, however, risks sinning by omission. Nowhere does this seem more evident than in a collection of music from movies. Please forgive these sins. Each musician was invited to bring in a tune or two for the project. We played the music in concert the evening before the recording, and were encouraged by the audience's delight in reliving these timeless melodies as told by the jazz quartet. We're already looking forward to the next volume.
The KMF Audio Stereo Tube Microphone figures heavily in Standards 2, Movie Music, as it did in the making of the Grammy-nominated Standards CD. We hope you'll enjoy listening to the sounds on this album as much as we enjoyed making them. The tunes and the films from whence they come deserve mention:
The 1939 film Gone With The Wind is widely considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made. Max Steiner's score for this epic is a masterpiece unto itself. Over 2 ½ hours of music are heard throughout the film, and no other film score has found such a warm and lasting place in the affections of so many people" according to film music historian Rudy Behlmer. Steiner's theme for Tara is the most recognizable melody from the film. I can grasp that feeling for Tara," said Steiner in 1939, which moved Scarlett's father and which is one of the finest instincts in her, that love for the soil where she had been born, love of the life before her own which had been founded so strongly. That is why the Tara theme begins and ends the picture and permeates the entire score." My arrangement here treats the first 3 notes of the melody as a pickup to the tune. This was the first track recorded for the album, and we got the performance in a single take. The blowing changes come from I Fall in Love Too Easily" ~ how appropriate for Scarlett! ~ written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn for the 1945 film Anchors Aweigh.
West Side Story opened on Broadway in 1957, became a Hollywood blockbuster in 1961, and its music can be considered the signature work of Leonard Bernstein and librettist Stephen Sondheim. Biographer Humphrey Burton writes: Bernstein had originally intended his song Somewhere" to serve (with a different lyric) as the love music for the balcony scene between Tony and Maria played on a tenement fire escape. (Book author Arthur) Laurents and (director-choreographer Jerome) Robbins were not convinced, so Bernstein and Sondheim created a new love duet, using the Tonight" music from the quintet heard later in the act. Somewhere" found its ideal position in the second act as the introduction to the dream ballet." The tune finds an ideal position here as track #2, While this musical has inspired many jazz album versions, Alan Pasqua's arrangement of Somewhere" is an evocative and swinging retelling, and Bob Mintzer's classical tone perfectly suits Bernstein's ode to the two young lovers. The film starred Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as Maria and Tony; the voices heard singing in the movie belong to vocalists Marni Nixon and Jimmy Bryant.
While the character Dr. Kildare appears in many films (including Young Dr. Kildare (1938), Calling Dr. Kildare (1939), The Secret of Dr. Kildare (1939), Dr. Kildare's Strange Case (1940), Dr. Kildare Goes Home (1940), Dr. Kildare's Crisis (1940), The People vs. Dr. Kildare (1941), Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (1941), Dr. Kildare's Victory (1942), and so on), the theme song heard here comes from the medical drama television series which ran from September 27, 1961 until April 5, 1966, for a total of 190 episodes. Kildare told the story of young intern Dr. James Kildare (Richard Chamberlain), working in a fictional large metropolitan hospital (Blair General) whilst trying to learn his profession, dealing with the problems of the patients and winning the respect of senior doctor Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Raymond Massey). In the series' first episode, Gillespie tells the earnest Kildare, Our job is to keep people alive, not to tell them how to live." Kildare ignores the advice, which provides the basis for stories over the next four seasons. The main theme by Jerry Goldsmith is one of the finest and most memorable to come out of Hollywood, and the song Three Stars Will Shine Tonight," crafted from the title music, became a hit single in 1962. Vardan Ovsepian wrote the arrangement.
The Gay Divorcee is a 1934 American film based on the musical play Gay Divorce. Censorship guardians of the time, The Hays Office, insisted on the name change, believing that while a divorcee could be gay or lighthearted, it would be unseemly to allow a divorce to appear so. The movie stars Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and is a screwball musical comedy with a slim plot. While this was the second of the Rogers and Astaire musicals (Flying Down to Rio (1933) being the first), it is the first of the series to feature Ginger and Fred as the main attraction. The stage version included many songs by Cole Porter, most of which were cut from the film, Night and Day" being a notable exception. Bob Mintzer's arrangement allows for the band to really open up and stretch out. While doing so we all shared a collective realization of how great the tune is. Fred sings it in the film on a beach at night; we played it during an afternoon in the Neurosciences Institute's lecture hall. The song works wherever and whenever you play it. Maybe that's why Cole Porter called it Night and Day.
Rosemary's Baby is a 1968 American horror/thriller film written and directed by Roman Polanski, based on the bestselling 1967 novel of the same name by Ira Levin. Krzysztof Komeda (born Krzysztof Trzciński 27 April 1931 in Poznań㬓 April 1969 in Warsaw) was a Polish physician, composer and jazz pianist. Perhaps best-known for his work in film, Komeda wrote the scores for Polański's Rosemary's Baby, The Fearless Vampire Killers, Knife in the Water and Cul-de-sac. Komeda's 1966 album Astigmatic is widely regarded as one of the most important European jazz albums, described by one critic as marking a shift away from the dominant American approach with the emergence of a specific European aesthetic." The Komeda Sextet became the first Polish jazz group playing modern jazz, and its pioneering performances opened the way for jazz in Poland. Komeda came to Los Angeles in 1968 to compose the music for Rosemary's Baby. In December 1968, Komeda had a tragic accident there as a result of friendly but drunken rough & tumble with writer Marek Hłasko; Komeda fell down and suffered head injuries that would later prove fatal. The Komeda Jazz Festival has been held on a regular basis in Poland since its inception in 1995. We are grateful to bassist Darek Oles" Oleszkiewicz for bringing this haunting melody to the project.
Cinema Paradiso is a love letter to the movies, and Ennio Morricone's melody is as unforgettable as the film (Morricone's son Andrea is also credited). Originally titled Nuovo cinema Paradiso and released in 1988, it won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Told largely in flashback to childhood years, it tells the story of the return of successful film director Salvatore to his native Sicilian village for the funeral of old friend Alfredo who was the projectionist at the local Cinema Paradiso." Young Salvatore (Totò) develops the passion for films that shapes his life's path. In several scenes of movies being shown at the cinema, there is frequent booing from the audience during the censored sections. The films suddenly jump, missing a critical kiss or embrace. The local priest has order these sections be cut. Alfredo's widow tells Salvatore that the old man left him something: an unlabeled reel of film. Salvatore returns to Rome and watches Alfredo's reel and discovers that it is a very special montage. It contains all of the kiss scenes that the priest ordered to be cut out of the reels. The powerful magic of music fusing with imagery can best be appreciated watching this scene. Apropos of these kisses, I employ the chord changes of It's You Or No One" (from another movie, 1948's Romance On The High Seas, song written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn and sung by Doris Day) to provide us with an improvisational grid.
Broadway Melody of 1940 is an MGM movie musical starring Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell and George Murphy. It was directed by Norman Taurog and features music by Cole Porter, including Begin the Beguine" in what is considered to be one of MGM's finer set pieces for dance (and acknowledged as being the longest popular song ever written), and I Concentrate On You," a dance routine credited by at least one critic as being a cinematic low point. The song is good, however. The film was the fourth and final entry in MGM's loosely connected Broadway Melody" series, and is notable for being the only on-screen pairing of Astaire and Powell, who were considered the finest movie musical dancers of their time. Fred Astaire had just left RKO, and Broadway Melody... was his first leading-role film for MGM. Astaire was reportedly slightly intimidated by Powell, as she was considered one of the few female dancers capable of out-performing Astaire. According to Powell in her introduction to the book The MGM Story, the feeling was somewhat mutual. Powell recalled finally saying to Astaire, Look, we can't go on like this. I'm Ellie; you're Fred. We're just two hoofers," after which, they got along well, and rehearsed so much they wore out their pianist. The trailer for the movie proclaims: It's big as Broadway and twice as gay!" That's saying something. Bob Mintzer arranged this Porter tune as well.
For All We Know" is a popular song published in 1934, the music written by J. Fred Coots with lyrics by Sam M. Lewis. The Rosemary Clooney version is heard over the closing credits of Dan Ireland's 2005 British film, Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont. Alan Pasqua created this album's brooding arrangement.