Jazz in May - Part 1

Probably the least surprising aspect of Lalo Schifrin’s career is that he’s still composing and performing around the globe, whereas one can’t help but be awed by his unwavering coolness as a great composer, particularly in jazz and film, and the quality of his work from the seventies, when he was fusing all kinds of concepts for the Dirty Harry series.

It wasn’t intended to be a series, but clearly the climate of the time seemed right for an anti-hero who meted out his own brand of justice on crooks and scumbags, in spite of choosing to remain under the thumb of an increasingly aggravated police department. That conflict of style, morals, and energy was present in Schifrin’s Dirty Harry scores, and we’re pairing a review of Sudden Impact, released on CD in complete form by the composer’s Aleph Records, with a short interview with Schifrin himself, talking about his label, and his jazz fusion scores.

Also added is a CD review of Abominable, the 2005 bigfoot B-movie by son Ryan Schifrin. The elder composer delivered a rich, fun, and addictive score (also released by Aleph) for the goofy film, available on DVD from Anchor Bay/Starz Home Entertainment (with new sleeve art), and which we reviewed HERE.

Lalo Schfrin’s also written music for Spooks, the comic book series co-created by Ryan Schifrin, of which samples can be heard at the Spooks website (more music is slated to be released on CD and via iTunes), and fans of the composer’s Bullitt score might want to check out the Hei$t videogame, which will feature music from the classic car chase film.

We’ve also reviewed two of Peter Calandra’s jazz scores, Jellysmoke (2005) and The Unknown Soldier (2004), double-billed on a new MP3 album and limited CD from MovieScore Media, and there's a long & windy review of Michael Legrand’s Le Mans (1971), released in France by Universal. That classic racing score is finally available without most of the ugly sound effects present on the old Columbia LP, and it's been paired with a lesser Legrand score, The Hunter (1980), which ended up being Steve McQueen’s cinematic swan song.

Lastly, back in 2007 we reviewed a wonderful 2-DVD tribute to Geneva's New Morning jazz club, and it seems the success of that set has resulted in the release of the complete 1994 concert with Randy Brecker and the Niels Lan Doky Trio. Running 97 mins., the DVD also contains a nice interview with ace trumpet player Brecker, and is available from Inakustik/MVD Visual.

Coming next: Bad TV Pilots that deserved to die a slow and painful death.

And imminent: Intriguing shows that tried to transcend some heavy conventions before succumbing to the Network Cancellation Axe.


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