Longevity among jazz groups is a surprisingly rare commodity. With relatively few exceptions, a run of a few years, at most, is standard; for a collective of jazz musicians to stick together for a decade or more is almost unheard of. That puts Fourplay, who celebrates their 25th anniversary this year, in a league of their own. Since 1990, bassist Nathan East, keyboardist Bob James, guitarist Chuck Loeb (who joined five years ago) and drummer Harvey Mason have continued to explore together, their efforts resulting in what All Music Guide called one of “the most intuitive, forward-thinking and focused groups in modern jazz.
Marvin Hamlisch's first feature film score – written while he was still a college student – remains one of the great debuts in soundtrack history: a work of remarkable maturity, 1968's The Swimmer is rich in contrast and scope, communicating the film's uncommon emotional complexity in stunningly clear detail. Hamlisch proves a master of both style and mood, shifting effortlessly from the poignant simplicity of the main theme to the effervescent jazz cut "Easy Four/Bubbles" to the soaring orchestral flourishes of "Hurdles." Like the new generation of filmmakers who redefined American cinema in the late '60s and early '70s, Hamlisch achieves a note-perfect balance between tradition and innovation, acknowledging the past masters of movie music even as he expands the parameters of the form. Film Score Monthly's superlative reissue includes excellent liner notes and a series of stills from the film. Highly recommended.