How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Bradley Parker-Sparrow's music for the film Shut Eye provides the kind of emotion that enhances each scene appropriately: moody blues and seamless shadows, along with an energetic drive to support the film's characters. With vocalist Joanie Pallatto and trumpeter Bobby Lewis, he creates a dark, mysterious framework. Sparrow's piano gently caresses each melody when the scene requires it, and pushes hard and actively at other times. Intrigue and tension come hand in hand with romantic smiles.
Sparrow and director John Covert have shaped five feature films together, developing an intuitive relationship that comes as natural as night and day. With Lewis' flugelhorn casting a tall shadow, Sparrow's film music for Shut Eye recalls Miles Davis and the dark impressions that his later music could relate so clearly. The mood is there. Just close your eyes and feel the tension ebb and flow.
Pallatto's lyrics to the opening theme celebrate the film's central character with descriptions of what is to come. Close your eyes for just a moment and see what happens. It's magic. With a story line like that in hand, she gives the audience a strong taste. Trumpeter Lewis adds considerable emotion to her tale, suggesting that the main character's inner strength runs deep.
Sparrow coats each scene with layers of mystery. His textures are timeless, ranging from acoustic jazz to contemporary hip-hop. Soulful wails and moans from both vocalists lend an emotional air, while Sparrow's piano carries the film's theme across personal borders and through urban dangers. Hurt and laughter mix casually as the story progresses.
Chicago Vice Lords brings Sparrow, Pallatto and Lewis together for a wandering ballad with melody that represents much of the film's heart. Here, they're on fire, implying a mood of silent strength and undying passion. Crack is Cheaper than Coke features Sparrow with a spoken-word rap dialogue that gets political. And what an interesting mix he's come up with: putting Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker and George Bush into one brief thought segment gets heavy.
Sparrow does a great job of turning the listener on to the film's thematic material. Shut Eye contains plenty of room for intense drama as well as drug-induced gibberish. His music helps to explain it all clearly with fine examples of the thinking that goes on behind each scene.
Track Listing: Shut Eye; Cuban Time; Sweet Flutes; Wet; Beneath Hell; Alley Sounds; Gun; Band Aid; Chicago Vice Lords; Cement Body Trunk Chevy; Easy; Pipe Cleaner; Crack is Cheaper than Coke; Shut Swing; Turn Away Victim; Shut Eye Gangster.
Personnel: Bradley Parker-Sparrow: piano, keyboards, vocals, ocarina, percussion, digital music creation; Joanie Pallatto: vocals, flutes, recorder, ocarina, percussion, keyboards, digital music creation; Bobby Lewis: flugelhorn; April Aloisio: vocals; John E. Magnan: electric bass; Alejo Poveda: drums.