It is in a state of absolute shock that we see our latest Elmer Bernstein CD released in the shadow of his passing. There are no words to express the grief and sadness we feel. It is with love and memories of happier times that we announce the release of a deluxe, definitive edition of The Great Escape, an honest-to-goodness film music masterpiece. For Elmer. -Robert Townson
Can I trust you? It's the question that strikes at the heart of human existence. Whether we're talking about business partnerships, romantic relationships, child-parent bonds, or the brave new world of virtual interaction, trust, when correctly placed, is what makes our world spin and lives flourish.
There’s always been a wonderful, symphonic bombast that’s gone with the heroes of space operas, probably no more notably then when John Williams re-launched the old-school sound of the Big Hollywood Orchestra with 1977’s STAR WARS. Yet as he made a new generation of sci-fi fans imagine they were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo or Princess Leia Organa, there was a group of earthbound heroes with names like Alan Shepard, John Glenn and Gus Grissom who needed to get their Hollywood due, not to mention the swirling strings and brass that would come with it. The composer who would help elevate them to icon status would be Bill Conti, whose main theme for 1983’s THE RIGHT STUFF became the soundtrack equivalent of “Entrance of the Gladiators” – music that defined pride, bravery and duty with no small measure of rousing excitement. Here that patriotic vibe is played under a slow-motion shot of astronauts marching towards the fearsome wonder of space itself, a classic cinema image that would be riffed on in every film from RESERVOIR DOGS to ARMAGEDDON.
The Best Of King Curtis 1952-1961 - Saxophone titan King Curtis gets the stellar showcase he deserves on Dave Penny’s latest career-defining set for Fantastic Voyage, continuing the roll which has seen the label raise the benchmark for knowledgeable, expertly-annotated compilations. Over three discs and nearly 100 tracks, Wail Man Wail! traverses the unmistakable tones of the late Curtis Ousley after he arrived from Texas in New York City in 1952, winning amateur night at Harlem’s Apollo before embarking on a recording career which took him to several seminal independent labels and bands with the likes of Lester Young and Lionel Hampton. He settled in New York for 17 years, declaring himself King Curtis and quickly making a name for roaring instrumentals and enhancing countless sessions.
For anyone in their mid-teens in the mid-5Os, and into music, it had to be rock'n'roll - American rock'n roll. There was no British equivalent to the sound. In the UK, it was Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, The Platters, Alan Freed, Radio Luxembourg, Voice Of America.
Director Takeshi Kitano's Brother is a film about a Japanese tough guy played by Beat Takeshi (which is the name Kitano uses as an actor) who travels from Tokyo to Los Angeles to find his sibling and then becomes involved in violent confrontations between Japanese gang members and the Mafia. It is, in other words a movie in the crime and action genres, and as such you might expect Joe Hisaishi's score, his sixth for a Kitano film, to be full of rhythmic, dramatic music befitting the subject matter. If so, you'd be surprised. Hisaishi's music, most of it played by the New Japan Philharmonic, is full of low-key, melodic classical and jazz touches more appropriate to a romance or, perhaps, at most, a downbeat mystery or police procedural. With many of the cues featuring Tomanao Hara's flugelhorn, the sound is often reminiscent of Gato Barbieri's music for Last Tango in Paris. Only "Raging Men" and the title track (presented in original and remixed versions) have the driving style typical of a film of this type. The result is refreshing, at least in terms of most action film soundtracks.