This was the second of Joe Newman's three dates he led under the Swingville banner. For this session he was in the very fine company of Frank Foster (tenor sax), Tommy Flanagan (piano), Eddie Jones (bass) and Bill English (drums). Recorded 10 months after the excellent JIVE AT FIVE album (also for Swingville), and with Flanagan and Jones returnees, this album is just as good as its predecessor. Frank Foster's forceful, mainly middle-register playing is very effective, and Tommy Flanagan is as good as ever. Only one tune, MO-LASSES, which is a blues a bit too overloaded with funk, is not up the the high level of the other tracks. A solid date.
A film involving a violently loud, retired, and suicidal blind man (played by Al Pacino) could have been stricken with a motion picture score to match the surface mood. Thomas Newman's score for Scent of a Woman delves beneath the surface, and what is found is a set that sounds not only classical but classy. There is a chilling calm in the music, a dreamlike state, that draws energy from the colors and feelings of autumn in New York City. Just as one track settles into a peaceful sleep, the stings and violins and drums come marching in, often too briefly, and fade away. While awaiting their return, the quietness of the "in-between" tracks pulls the listener in until what was being waited for is nearly forgotten. The soundtrack features "Por Una Cabeza" performed by the Tango Project; the piece served as the centerpiece of emotion in the film, in which the beautiful Gabrielle Anwar takes Al Pacino's hand and learns that seeing music through wide-open eyes is not half as important as feeling it with the other four senses. Newman's soundtrack believes that too.