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Dave Grusin: Now Playing: Movie Themes - Solo Piano

David Rickert By

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Successful film music is designed to enhance rather than dominate a scene, and thus many soundtrack albums, when removed from the context of the movie, are little more than nice background music. However, Grusin, a talented and well-known composer of film scores, has created new interpretation of some of the themes from his past work, many of which stand quite well on their own.

Although Grusin has jazz chops, many of his works borrow ideas from other genres, such as hornpipes, new age, and even the avant-garde. In addition, many of these pieces were originally designed for a full orchestra and thus the pianist had to rework some of the compositions to fit the solo piano treatment.

The end result is a CD full of lovely melodies, some of which are recognizable ("On Golden Pond," "It Might Be You" from Tootsie ), and others of which are more obscure ("Hurricane Country" from Havana ). But this only points out Grusin's gifts as a composer: you can remember having heard the melody long after you've seen the movie, and those you haven't heard are instantly appealing. All of them have an undeniable cinematic quality that instantly conjures up images of what scenes might be unraveling on the silver screen in the process.

Since this is film music, some of the treatments may sound overly sentimental, but there's no denying that Grusin has created some of the best film music of his generation and a beautiful album of songs he wrote in this capacity. Don't expect much jazz here, as this is an album that has more of a Sunday morning feel to it, a relaxing album of pastoral landscapes.

Track Listing: 1. On Golden Pond 2. New Hampshire Hornpipe (from On Golden Pond) 3. The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter Suite from The Beanfield Wars 4. Lupita 5. Pistolero 6. Milagro Theme 7. Memphis Stomp (from The Firm 8. Se Fue (from Havana 9. Hurricane Country (from Havana) 10. It Might Be You (from Tottsie) 11. Theme From Mulholland Falls 12. Random Hearts 13. Heaven Can Wait 14. Letting Go (from The Champ) 15. Mud Island Chase (from The Firm).

Personnel: Dave Grusin - piano.

Title: Now Playing: Movie Themes - Solo Piano | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: GRP Records

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