We all have a Walt Disney cartoon tune or melody in mind, reminding us of magic afternoons spent with our parents when we were kids or with our own children now that we are grown-ups. It is a bit of this special feeling and pleasure that artists such as Gregory Porter, Melody Gardot, Stacey Kent, Jamie Cullum and other leading music stars share with us on the new project produced by Jay Newland and arranged and directed by Rob Mounsey, as they perform big band jazz covers of songs that are part of every kids heritage. Whether they come from Scandinavia, Andalusia, North Americas big cities or the Balkan plains, 21st century kids have the Disney magic in common, an imaginary world where both soft and wild tunes are closely linked to cult scenes from Uncle Walts animation classics.
From the fanfare of the opening crawl to the abrupt cutaway zing of the closing credits, John Williams' soundtrack to The Force Awakens does not disappoint. Williams has always been an integral part of the Star Wars experience, as familiar as the movies themselves, comforting and nostalgic. The fan anticipation and legacy baggage that came with the seventh film in this iconic series was overwhelming, being the first new film since 2005's Revenge of the Sith and the direct sequel to 1983's Return of the Jedi, yet the results are not crushed by outlandish pressure. For The Force Awakens, Williams began work in late 2014, before recording began in Los Angeles in June 2015 (the first time a Star Wars film score was not recorded at Abbey Road). He enlisted a freelance orchestra and, with the help of William Ross and Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel, produced a 23-song journey connecting the past and the future of the Star Wars universe. Here, Williams combines the old and the new with expert subtlety, creating a lush experience that rewards repeat listens. Those familiar with his work on other big-budget sagas (Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones) will instantly recognize the blaring horns that propel the action, the stirring strings that intensify the tension, and the bombast that contribute to the excitement as much as the scenes portrayed on the screen.