Autumn 2013 marks Legrand's great return to the music scene: two concerts with Natalie Dessay at The Olympia in Paris (October 28th and 29th) followed by a tour through France and Europe, and also his first memoirs, Rien n'est grave dans les aigus, to be published by the Cherche-Midi Editeur. To tie in with these events, Universal Classics & Jazz France has undertaken the most ambitious, abundantly prolific and extravagant record-project ever devoted to Michel Legrand: a 15CD boxed-set which brings together every face and aspect of every domain on the Legrand continent; in other words, songs, jazz, original film-soundtracks, symphonic works, musicals…
An epic 100 CD chronological documentation of the history of jazz music from 1898 to 1959, housed in four boxed sets. Each box contains 25 slipcase CDs, a booklet (up to 186 pages) and an index. The booklets contain extensive notes (Eng/Fr) with recording dates and line-ups. 31 hours of music in each box, totalling 1677 tracks Each track has been restored and mastered from original sources.
Reynold da Silva's Silva Screen Records has been constructing a series of "essential" collections of major film composers' scores usually by making new recordings of portions of those scores or compiling recordings previously made for other projects, most often employing the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. For this Michel Legrand album, the label has actually enlisted Legrand as conductor of the Flemish Radio Orchestra (whose contributions are not noted until you examine the CD booklet), with a few additional jazz musicians, plus Legrand himself on piano and (during the extended suite from The Go-Between) harpsichord. Still, these are new recordings, made in December 2004, and should not be confused with actual soundtrack recordings. Legrand oversees excerpts from some of his most popular scores, leaning heavily on the major themes, such as "I Will Wait for You" from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, "Theme from Summer of '42," and "The Windmills of Your Mind" from The Thomas Crown Affair.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. A wonderful record – one in which Phil Woods blows alto solos over the arrangements of Michel Legrand – handled in the masterful style of Legrand's best jazzy soundtrack work, and in a way that lets Woods hit some of his best solos of the 70s! Legrand's always been great at this sort of album for any jazzman – and here, he unlocks a romantic tone in Woods' style that is a nice counterpart to some of the hippy-dippiness that he'd been showing in other sides from the 70s.
Ice Station Zebra (1968) is a Cold War thriller following a U.S. submarine and its mysterious British passenger on a top-secret mission to the North Pole. Based on a novel by Alistair MacLean, the film features fine performances by Rock Hudson, Patrick McGoohan, Ernest Borgnine and an all-male supporting cast. The combination of realistic military protocol and high-adventure espionage—as well as groundbreaking special effects and production design—won the film many admirers, among them the late Howard Hughes. Michel Legrand was best-known for pop-based scores like The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Thomas Crown Affair, but was no less creative and dynamic in the symphonic Hollywood idiom (The Three Musketeers). His score for Ice Station Zebra is at once epic yet also offbeat, with powerful main themes dressed in an intricate web of mystery and suspense.
The match-up of neo-pop crooner with composer is a felicitous one, especially given that this album was recorded in Paris with arranging and conducting. The result is that the treatment of familiar songs such as and is less gimmicky than usual: and slow down, and treat in a more melancholy-than-usual manner.