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The dark, haunting world of film noir has returned to thrill viewers in a spate of releases on DVD in recent months. This Film Noir Project transposes that spell to music, capturing the essence of the themes that enhance the thrill of watching the films. Music, even in its darkest ambit, can be elevating. Bob Sneider and Joe Locke not only take soundtracks from classic movies, they also add some from films that fell flat on their face. But they bring the music to life, making each tune a unique experience.
Perhaps the most well-known theme here is from Roman Polanski's Chinatown. John Sneider heralds the tune on the trumpet, carving a moody niche that contrasts with the brighter hue brought in by Locke on the vibraphone in swift, delectable patterns. When Sneider returns, he is on the up, balancing quick incantations with notes that flow and sweep, creating a warm ambience. Bob Sneider introduces the Latin rhythm of "A Farewell to Maria with a soft countenance on the guitar, then later gives it a pronounced character with his emphatic and colourful improvisation of the melody. The body, however, gets its muscle and tone from the other members of the band as they swing gently and sweetly.
Another classic, and one of the best here, is "Farewell, My Lovely. The arrangement draws the players into a vortex from which each spins and unravels a fascinating tale. The tone is melancholy, shaped by the soft swish of the brushes and a caress against the piano and vibes. The trumpet augments the brooding atmosphere, and in an ever-evolving landscape, the guitar adds counterpoint and the tenor saxophone essays a looming, big-voiced presence. In sum, this group triumphantly immerses itself in the nectar of noir.
Track Listing: Fallen Angel; Chinatown Theme; Les Modernes; Katya; Promenade Sentimentale; Theme From
Mulholland Falls; Body Heat; A Farewell to Maria; Last Kiss; Farewell, My Lovely; Hurricane
Personnel: Bob Sneider: guitar; Joe Locke: vibraphone; Paul Hofmann: piano; John Sneider: trumpet;
Grant Stewart: tenor saxophone; Phil Flanigan: bass; Mike Melito: drums.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.