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Peter Erskine / Bob Mintzer / Darek Oles / Alan Pasqua: Standards 2, Movie Music

Dan McClenaghan By

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Composers of movie soundtracks have crafted some of the most enduring tunes for jazz treatment. Names like Leonard Bernstein, Cole Porter, Krzysztof Komeda, and Ennio Maricone show up in the credits of innumerable albums, with tunes that shape moods and atmospheres, and supply jazz artists with engaging melodies galore.

Drummer Peter Erskine has collected a crack quartet which has, in turn, collected ten tunes from various movie soundtracks for a near perfect jazz outing, one with that swings with the feeling of an Duke Ellington small group outing.

From tenor saxophonist Bob Mintzer's opening notes, it's apparent that this is a special outing. The rhythm section bounces in on a cloud, with bassist Darek Oles injecting a powerful buoyancy to the ensemble groove. The tune is Max Steiner's "Tara," from Gone With the Wind (1939), stepping light and easy over spare piano sparkles on a supremely gorgeous opener.

Leonard Bernstein's "Somewhere," from West Side Story (1961), cries to life on Mintzer's achingly lovely saxophone notes. The group plays it straight, before pianist Alan Pasqua takes it away on a delicate, swinging rumination on the theme, wrapping up his solo on Erskine's sharp declarations, that invite Mintzer back into the mix.

Standards 2, Movie Music hearkens back to the days when tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Ben Webster were recording small group sets with pianists Teddy Wilson and Oscar Peterson, where every note from every player sounded perfect, and the group dynamic seemed impeccable, classy and elegant.

Less familiar, perhaps, are Jerry Goldsmith's "Dr. Kildare" and "Three Stars Will Shine Tonight," from the early to mid-sixties television show, and tunes from two European soundtrack masters—Krzysztof Komeda and Ennio Morricone—invoking a feeling of pathos for "Rosemary's Baby (Main Theme)," and a mood of awe and wonder for "Cinema Paradiso," respectively.

Peter Erskine and his quartet have made a beautiful, classic CD.

Track Listing: Tara's Theme; Somewhere; Dr. Kildare; Three Stars Will Shine Tonight; Night and Day; Rosemary's Baby; Cinema Paradiso Intro; Cinema Paradiso; I Concentrate on You; For All We Know.

Personnel: Bob Mintzer: tenor saxophone; Alan Pasqua: piano; Darek Oles: bass; Peter Erskine: drums.

Title: Standards 2, Movie Music | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Fuzzy Music

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