This album by guitarist John Williams offers a repertoire of eighteen items, versioned guitar with orchestral accompaniment, taken from well-known soundtrack movies. Williams himself claims that he is always listening to film music to play with his guitar and although soundtracks are designed differently so his versions, both bring something extra that neither words nor pictures can offer.
This is an interesting session that finds John Williams sitting in with an all-star youth orchestra. The arrangements sound very much like a high school orchestra, however, Williams is careful not to overplay and dominate the session. The "Plymouth Hoe-Down" is particularly fun and closes out the concerto with exhilaration. There are also three additional pieces from composer Paul Hart, written for guitar and keyboards. These pieces alone are worth the price of admission, as Hart masterfully taps into Williams' strengths of adaptability, technical virtuosity and impeccable tone. Highly recommended for both jazz and classical enthusiasts. ~ Robert Taylor, All Music Guide
Director Steven Spielberg and composer John Williams have forged a remarkable partnership over the past 20 years, one that's evolved in recent years into a very practical balance of art and commerce. The Spielberg/Williams team followed the blockbuster Jurassic Park with the risk-taking Schindler's List, the bloated Jurassic sequel The Lost World with the moralistic Amistad. Williams admirably rises to the challenge again, underplaying the volatile emotions involved and utilizing African rhythmic and modal influences with surprising subtlety. The choral touches of the title and wordless aria of "Cinque's Theme" bring to mind similar stylistic flourishes by Morricone–and that's high praise.
The John Coltrane Quartet's mind expanding quality is displayed on a half-dozen trinkets with Coltrane's innovative dressing of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's "My Favorite Things," and the high-energy "Blue Trane," the glossiest. He shows a softness on "Naima," and links the jazz idiom with divine power on "Spiritual" for a musical baptismal that's excellent for impromptu meditation sessions. The six tracks, which include Billy Eckstine's much recorded "I Want to Talk About You," flows for more than 60 minutes, which is enough of 'Trane and his crews' therapeutic expressions to clear the cobwebs, tranquil nerves, and soothe the savage beast.