The Grammy-winning trumpeter/composer returns to his jazz-renaissance roots with a set steeped in the glossy hues and tones of New York City at night. Blanchard’s score for the soundtrack of Robert De Niro’s new film captures a late-life crisis with jaunty blues, brooding balladry and svelte modern jazz. The mood-setting themes have strong melodies and rhythmic edge, and with saxophonist Ravi Coltrane stretching out and on-form pianist Kenny Barron leading a classy rhythm section, the jazz is for real. Blanchard pares his playing of excess, and plays beautifully.
Randy Brecker's debut album features the trumpeter leading two distinct all-star small groups, each with younger brother Michael (who was only 19 when this was recorded) on tenor sax, Larry Coryell on guitar, and Hal Galper on piano. The tunes alternate between jazz-rock (a style the Brecker Brothers were later to successfully exploit) and modern mainstream jazz. There are the customary fades, popular at the time, and a light, though constant, beat throughout that makes the music both accessible and even danceable, an impressive feat considering that virtually all the tunes are originals. The Brecker Brothers exhibit a command of their horns and a maturity that was to serve them well for many years. The recording has weathered the years well, in part because even the fusion pieces never lose their focus, nor do they compromise artistry for popular fads.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is the soundtrack album for the Marvel Studios film of the same name. Featuring the songs present on Peter Quill's mixtape in the film, the album was released by Hollywood Records on July 29, 2014. A separate film score album, Guardians of the Galaxy (Original Score), composed by Tyler Bates, was also released by Hollywood Records on the same date, along with a deluxe version featuring both albums. The soundtrack album reached number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, becoming the first soundtrack album in history consisting entirely of previously released songs to top the chart. The album topped the Billboard Top Soundtracks for 11 consecutive weeks and 16 weeks in total. As of January 2015, it has sold 1,003,000 copies in the United States, and has been certified Platinum by the RIAA. The album was the US's second best-selling soundtrack album of 2014, behind only the soundtrack to Frozen.