Bob Belden: Three Days of Rain (2006)
As usual, you can't judge a book by its cover. Bob Belden's original score for the film Three Days of Rain is, plain and simple, an excellent jazz album. There's no way of getting around it. Listen to it and you will be impressed. Sure, Belden's compositions may have been written for the express purpose of evoking the feelings of certain characters. But having never seen Three Days of Rain, I will approach Belden's music as jazz.
To realize his ideas, Belden has brought in an all-star array of musicians who manage, as usual, to fit seamlessly together to form the whole. Featured most prominently is Joe Lovano (saxophone, reeds), whose sheer virtuosity and mind for the past make him an obvious selection. Two superb rhythm sections complement the frontline of Lovano and trumpeter Scott Wendholt. The first consists of pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Dwayne Burno, drummer Joe Chambers, and guitarists Ronnie Jordan and Al Street. The second comprises pianist Marc Copland, bassist Mark McGuirk and drummer Jochen Ruckert. Jason Moran guests on the final track.
The ballad "Three Days of Rain opens the album, played with extreme emotion by Lovano. Wendholt provides riveting counterpoint, his contrapuntal lines serving to highlight the melody. While the playing of these great musicians is a highlight, the focus of the album, and what makes it unique, are the splendid compositions contributed by Belden. "Three Days of Rain may as well be a standard, evoking the feeling of rain falling in a city (the film is set in Cleveland).
"Big Joe is a deceptively simple blues, and the perfect vehicle for the musicians to stretch out. According to Belden, it's, "just a blowing track to show off the straight ahead talents of Joe Lovano, Kevin Hays and Al Street. And given free reign, they do shine.
The entire album comes together as a cohesive unit, making the listener wonder whether it isn't one of the classic Blue Note albums recorded in the '50s or '60s (Chambers was the drummer on many of these sessions). Belden has created a masterpiece, realized in near-perfect fashion by a supreme group of musicians who, while they may not have played together much beforehand, come together as a unit. As a soundtrack, I'm sure Three Days of Rain is up to par. As a jazz album, it is worth your attention.
Track Listing: Three Days of Rain (Main Title); Falling Down; Blues for Dennis; Tess; Her Lost Smile; Big Joe; Homeless (trio); Conscience; Panic; Homeless (quartet); Anniversary; Tess Montage; End Title (master).
Personnel: Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Scott Wendholt: trumpet; Kevin Hays: piano; Al Street: guitar; Dywane Burdno: bass; Joe Chambers: drums; Ronnie Jordan: guitar; Marc Copland: piano; Mark McGuirk: bass; Jochen Ruckert: drums; Jason Moran: piano.