Film soundtracks that rely on jazz for their impressions give the viewer plenty of color, all in one package. Somber moods, romantic scenes, lively conversations and even dramatic sequences can be interpreted through jazz, giving films a touch of class and bringing them closer to our hearts. It sure beats some kind of programmed theme music that nobody ever notices. By bringing in live jazz for ambience, film directors and producers know that they're putting their scenery closer to the viewer's heart. If it brings goose bumps, then it's working. That's what happens throughout the soundtrack to Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School.
Vocalists interpret specific scenes for the film, while much of the music comes from familiar big band territory. Dan Higgins performs a swinging "Begin the Beguine with big band. Royal Crown Revue swings with a cool "Zip Gun Bop that brings joyous elation to a particular film scene, while ballads such as "Bella Luna, "Ciribiribin and "Over the Rainbow are employed for romantic purposes.
From an original 1947 recording, Louis Armstrong is featured with "On the Sunny Side of the Street, singing and playing a hot trumpet with his small all-star ensemble. Talk about convincing... He sure does bring in a touch of class to the film's score.
Several dances are represented. Cha cha, tango and several others bring an enjoyable theme to the film's soundtrack, which offers something for everyone. Cherry Poppin' Daddies contribute "Dr. Bones, which sets the joint a-jumpin' for a livelier scene. Trombonist Charlie Loper interprets "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You in the true Tommy Dorsey tradition.
Interspersed throughout the score are sensitive mood pieces that relate to the film's love story and its main characters. The combination of ballroom dance swing and lyrical jazz makes for a refreshing experience. The goose bumps may come and go, but the music lasts forever.
Track Listing: Frank Cries; Somewhere Over the Rainbow; Zip Gun Bop; Bella Luna; Cha Cha Charlie; Ciribiribin; Joyous Shades of Brilliant Magenta / Hey Bread Man; Begin the Beguine; Steves Story; Pedro Goes to Town; Dr. Bones; Ritas Clothes; Getting Sentimental Over You; Scattering the Ashes; Moonbeams; Swing Tango; Baile Fresco; Frank & Meredith; On the Sunny Side of the Street.
Personnel: Mark Adler: conductor, piano; Michael A. Lang: piano; Gregg Field: percussion; Peter
Maunu: guitar; Bill Reichenbach, Andy Martin, Charlie Loper, Bruce Fowler: trombone;
Malcolm McNab, Warren H. Luening, John Fumo, Dennis Farias, Wayne Bergeron: trumpet;
James W. Thatcher, Kristy Morrell, Steven Becknell: French horn; Michael R. ODonovan:
bassoon; Phillip Ayling: oboe; Bob Sheppard, Brian Scanlon, Joel C. Peskin, Bill Liston,
James M. Kanter, Daniel L. Higgins: clarinet; James Walker: flute; Michael Valerio, Nico
Carmine Abondolo, Oscar Hidalgo, Edward Meares, David Parmeter: bass; Andrew T.
Shulman, Roger Lebow, Dennis Karmazyn: cello; Carolyn Riley, Shanti D. Randall, Simon
Oswell, Darrin McCann, Keith Greene, Matthew Funes, Samuel W. Fornicola: viola; Ge-Fang
Frank Yang, Roger Wilkie, Josefina Vergara, Sarah Thornblade, Tereza L. Stanislav, Mark
Robertson, Susan Rishik, Rafael Rishik, Sid Page, Marina Manukian, Armen Anassian,
Lorand Lokuszta, Phillip Levy, Eric J. Hosler, Alan Grunfeld, Laurence Greenfield, Julie Ann
Gigante, Bruce Dukov, Kevin Connolly, Rene Mandel: violin; others.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.