A superbly atmospheric John Barry score effectively conveyed the mood of swinging London for this 1965 film by Richard Lester. Usually playing around with variations of the haunting main theme, Barry used vivacious horns, melancholic strings, and above all a groovy jazz organ (played by Alan Haven). A couple of the tracks don't work well in isolation: the vaudevillian "Something's Up!," and the vocal version of the main theme (not used in the film) by mediocre singer Johnny De Little. But overall, it's got a consistently captivating groove, rating as one of Barry's best scores.
Ever curious, courageous and endlessly creative, virtuoso guitarist and musical mastermind Pat Metheny takes on John Zorn’s Masada songbook to create some of the most soulful and adventurous sounds yet heard in the Book of Angels series. Turn up the volume and revel in the breadth of imagination in these remarkable arrangements featuring Pat on a huge arsenal of instruments, and the powerful Antonio Sanchez on drums. Pat Metheny continues to surprise and experiment with new musical frontiers well into the 21st century. Released in coordination with Nonesuch, this is a match made in Heaven—essential!
The two albums John Hartford recorded for Warner Bros. in the early '70s stand as two of the most influential and groundbreaking albums in modern country music. For 1971's Aereo-Plain, Hartford and fiddler Vassar Clements, dobroist Tut Taylor, guitarist Norman Blake and bassist Randy Scruggs played a set of mostly original tunes that fused the irreverent hippie aesthetic with the hallowed bluegrass tradition, thereby more or less singlehandedly inventing the "newgrass" genre. And 1972's Morning Bugle built on Aereo-Plain's breakthrough with a stripped-down line-up of Hartford, Blake and jazz bassist Dave Holland. This two-CD set contains both albums with eight unreleased bonus tracks-four from each session.
Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz steps out on his own to make one of the most primal and tribal installments in the Book of Angels series. Drawing on his Sephardic roots, Shanir plays gimbri throughout, giving the music a primeval Moroccan edge. Featuring the intense guitar pyrotechnics of Eyal Maoz and Aram Bajakian (who recently has been tearing it up in Lou Reed’s new band) and the atavistic drumming of Kenny Grohowski, this is Ritualistic Jewish Rock for the 21st century by a brilliant young lion from the East Village via Brooklyn/Israel!
Over the 90-year history of sound film, there have been a handful of instances where a director and a composer have formed a longtime partnership that resulted in a series of classical scores, creating music that stands the test of time. None, however, have been as long or as fruitful as the 43-year collaboration of Steven Spielberg and John Williams. None have encompassed such a wide range of subject matter or, more significantly, have had such an enormous impact on worldwide popular culture. From the ominous shark signature of Jaws to the five-note alien greeting of Close Encounters of the Third Kind; from the heroic march of Raiders of the Lost Ark to the moving themes for Schindler’s List – the music Williams has written for more than two dozen Spielberg projects has not only served them brilliantly but entered the wider public consciousness.
David Krakauer is one of the greatest of all modern Klezmer clarinetists. A veteran of countless bands and ensembles and a founding member of the Klezmatics, his ensemble Klezmer Madness has been forging new roads in the world of Jewish music since the late 1980s. David and Zorn have a long history and friendship that began with Zorn's legendary Kristallnacht recording of 1992, followed thru with David’s guest appearances in various Masada ensembles and the release of his first CD with Klezmer Madness on Tzadik. Here David takes a variety of Masada compositions back to their roots, interpreting them brilliantly as traditional (and not-so-traditional) Klezmer tunes. A fascinating meeting of old and new by two of the most creative musicians in Modern Jewish music!
Music both old and new, but all of it inspired by the timeless modal harmony of medieval and Mediterranean cultures: this is the subject of John Williams's brilliant guitar disc for Sony, which also features his debut as a composer. The main work is his own "Aeolian Suite" for guitar and chamber orchestra, based on both original and 14th-century tunes (one of which, the "Saltarello," appeared on early-music pioneer David Munrow's disc called Instruments of the Middle Ages). The suite is a lovely piece of writing, deftly composed, and neither tacky nor pretentious. It's paired with an inspired assortment of spiritually related but diverse arrangements and original pieces by Satie, Theodorakis, Domeniconi, and an emotionally intense four-movement work called "Stélé," by Australian composer Phillip Houghton. Naturally, Williams performs each piece expertly, but most important, he makes his instrument sing, and that's just what the music demands. Simply super.