Here's yet another composer-performer who abhors the idea of building walls and fences between musical cultures. He's been carrying on parallel activities in the jazz and classical worlds ever since he was a youth in his native Argentina. Schifrin has composed a series of suites putting such jazz greats as Ray Brown and Grady Tate together with the London Philharmonic in a mix of originals, arrangements of standards, and several 13-14 minute tributes to the giants of jazz.
Lalo Schifrin turned 75 on June 21, 2007. In anticipation of that milestone, he convened the recording session for this album a little less than three months earlier, on March 30, 2007, intending to return to his first love of acoustic jazz. The sextet making up the pianist/composer's friends here includes saxophonist James Moody, James Morrison on trumpet and trombone, guitarist Dennis Budimir, bass player Brian Bromberg, and Alex Acuña on drums and percussion. It's an accomplished lineup, and Schifrin wrote and arranged material to showcase the players, beginning with the standard "Besame Mucho," on which Morrison's trumpet takes the lion's share of space.
Though it may seem unlikely that Frank Zappa had much of an influence on the work of Lalo Schifrin, one can detect some cultural crossover on There's a Whole Lalo Schifrin Goin' On. Schifrin was as much a jazz-pop genius as ever, but on this album rock rhythms, musical satire, sound effects, and exotica are all used as camp in a way that is eerily reminiscent of Zappa's more thoughtful efforts. Schifrin being Schifrin, every cut has a distinct and catchy melody, but there are whimsical and satirical themes embedded in the music. Nowhere is this more obvious than in "Hawks Vs. Doves," in which a cheery carnival-like theme is played in counterpoint to a martial air, each interfering with the other.
Those who are fans of both Lalo Schifrin and Astor Piazzolla should be delighted by this reissue of important early works. The tunes here were originally on separate albums by their respective artists and have been long out of print until the issue of this BMG compilation. The first eight songs are by Lalo Schifrin and they show the listener both his piano virtuosity and his already strong skills as an arranger. I recognize many of these songs having heard them done by other artists in my father's record collection. Though the "tropical" sound may seem dated and quaint to modern ears, several listens will show you just how far advanced Schifrin was for his time.
Schifrin’s Concierto Caribeno for flute, was commissioned by and is dedicated to the Mexican flautist Marisa Canales. Its first movement opens with a busy orchestral phrase, which immediately gives us a taste of the tropical percussion of the Caribbean. The solo flute sings the syncopated first theme that will be developed in a classical sonata form without losing the spontaneity and freshness of this music. Orchestral dialogues unfold a virtuoso elaboration on the theme where the rhythmic flexibility and the rich ornamentation give the development an improvised feeling.
Best known for his "Mission: Impossible" theme song, Lalo Schifrin is an Argentinean-born composer, arranger, pianist, and conductor, whose jazz and classical training earned him tremendous success as a soundtrack composer. Born Boris Claudio Schifrin in Buenos Aires on June 21, 1932, his father was a symphonic violinist, and he began playing piano at age six. He enrolled in the Paris Conservatoire in 1952, hitting the jazz scene by night. After returning to Buenos Aires, Schifrin formed a 16-piece jazz orchestra, which helped him meet Dizzy Gillespie in 1956.
With an iconic, Academy Award®-nominated lead performance by Paul Newman as the free spirit who refuses to be broken by cruel Southern justice, director Stuart Rosenberg's Cool Hand Luke has rightly taken its place as a modern American classic. One of the key elements to the film's deft balance of drama and humor is also its most unlikely: the Oscar®-nominated score of Argentine-born composer Lalo Schifrin. As he's done throughout a career that's moved gracefully between jazz recordings, classical podiums, and scoring stages, Schifrin's music fuses seemingly disparate genres–bluegrass, symphonic, rhythmic jazz–into a soundtrack that evokes them all yet becomes distinctly more than the sum of its parts. Given that gratifying sensibility, it's a soundtrack full of surprising twists and turns, crackling with energy. Such is its dynamic nature that one reedited cut ("Tar Sequence") has taken on a second life as the ubiquitous "Eyewitness News" theme music at local TV stations across America.
Aleph Records is proud to release Lalo Schifrin: My Life in Music, a four-CD boxed set of music from the legendary composer's career in film, jazz, and classical music. The set features music from three-dozen films, jazz and symphonic pieces composed by Schifrin, and unreleased music from films including Charley Varrick, The Beguiled, Joe Kidd, and Coogan's Bluff. Along with over five hours worth of music, a forty-eight page book is included with archival photos and notes.