Peter Erskine, Bob Mintzer, Darek Oles, Alan Pasqua – Standards2, Movie Music- Fuzzy Music PEPCD018, 59:25 ****:
Since the start of talking pictures, music has been an important part of making pictures enjoyable. Whether the music has been specifically written for the film, or taken from another source, but used to help advance the story, many of these compositions have become part of the musical landscape. Jazz musicians have used such themes to create great albums such as Oscar Peterson’s “West Side Story”, Miles Davis with “Ascenseur pour L’echafaud" and Duke Ellington with “Paris Blues”. Now a quartet of first rate contemporary musicians has added to the genre with a jazz album of movie-related compositions.
Using a KMF Audio Stereo Tube Microphone in the recording process, the music comes across with perfect clearness and a three dimensional soundscape that adds to the deferential arrangements that the musicians have written for the compositions. Each member of this group is a talented and forceful soloist, but together they bring a masterful cohesion to the music. The disc leads off with Max Steiner’s evocative “Tara’s Theme” from Gone With The Wind and sets the tone for the balance of the album. Peter Erskine’s arrangement uses the first three notes of the melody as the pickup for tune.”Somewhere” from West Side Story as arranged by Alan Pasqua is a swinger that allows Mintzer’s tenor sax to give the song a strong reading. During the 1930s and 40s when the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers‘ musicals dominated movie screens, Cole Porter tunes could be heard as romantic themes and two of his best are showcased here, namely ” Night and Day” and “I Concentrate On You”. In the case of the former, Mintzer has arranged a Latin take on the tune and the band uses the opportunity to show its versatility. As for the latter, Mintzer again delivers a fine arrangement of this delightful ballad.
While the main theme from Rosemary’s Baby may not come immediately to one’s musical mind, nevertheless bassist Darek Oles has delivered a mysterious and haunting arrangement of this composition that the group delivers with striking fragility. Closing out the disc is another of those 1930s tunes “For All We Know”, written by J. Fred Coots and lyricist Sam M. Lewis, although it was not used until 2005 in the British film Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont. Alan Pasqua has written a charming but dark arrangement of this interesting tune.
The liner notes indicate that this group intends to continue looking to the movies for themes on which to express their musical ideas. This would be a welcomed development.
TrackList: Tara’s Theme; Somewhere; Dr. Kildare; Three Stars Will Shine Tonight; Night And Day; Rosemary’s Baby; Cinema Paradiso (intro); Cinema Paradiso; I Concentrate On You; For All We Know.
— Pierre Giroux