Whenever he was asked to name his own personal favorite within his long and distinguished oeuvre, Jerry Goldsmith inevitably cited his work on 1977's obscure Ernest Hemingway adaptation Islands in the Stream. A lush, often melancholy score evoking both the serenity and the treachery of the sea, it is undoubtedly Goldsmith's most intimate effort, eschewing the larger-than-life drama and suspense of his best-known soundtracks. Islands in the Stream is above all a showcase for the composer's consummate ability to vividly communicate both the physical and emotional landscape in such simple yet precise strokes – employing little but a lone French horn, Goldsmith's main theme captures the immense loneliness and solitude of George C. Scott's protagonist, while gentle woodwinds suggest the ocean waves lapping the shore of his island home.
For Robert Altman's Kansas City film, since the story was centered in 1934 Kansas City, Altman wanted to have younger musicians depict top jazz artists of the era playing at one of the legendary jam sessions. He recruited many of today's top modernists and, although they used arrangements based on older recordings, they did not have to necessarily improvise in the style of the time. Actually, it is surprising how close the musicians often come, recapturing not just the music of the period but the adventurous spirit of such immortals as Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, and Lester Young. A dozen songs from the film are on this very enjoyable and unique CD, which features such players as trumpeter Nicholas Payton, clarinetist Don Byron, guitarists Russell Malone and Mark Whitfield, pianists Geri Allen and Cyrus Chestnut, altoists Jesse Davis and David "Fathead" Newman, and four of today's great tenors: James Carter, Craig Handy, David Murray, and Joshua Redman. In addition, Kevin Mahogany sings "I Left My Baby." Although there are some audience shouts on a couple of the pieces, this is one soundtrack album that very much stands up on its own.
Kissed is a 1996 Canadian film, directed and co-written by Lynne Stopkewich, based on Barbara Gowdy's short story "We So Seldom Look On Love". It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 1996. The film stars Molly Parker as Sandra Larson, a young woman whose fixation on death leads her to study embalming at a mortuary school, where in turn she finds herself drawn toward feelings of necrophilia. Peter Outerbridge also stars as Matt, a fellow student who develops romantic feelings for Sandra, and so must learn to accept her sexual proclivities.
Man in Motion is the fifth studio album released in 1988 by the hard rock/arena rock band Night Ranger. Original Night Ranger keyboardist Alan Fitzgerald had left the band prior to recording sessions for the album, and new keyboardist Jesse Bradman is featured as his replacement…
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 romantic comedy Singles, in part a homage to director Cameron Crowe's hometown of Seattle, was released at exactly the right time (summer 1992). Nirvana's Nevermind had symbolically knocked Michael Jackson off the top of the album charts at the beginning of the year, and the underground buzz about Seattle bands like Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam was beginning to find its way past circles of indie aficionados and open-minded hard rock fans and into the mainstream. Singles helped crystallize the idea of the "Seattle scene" in the mainstream public's mind, and it was also one of the first big-selling '90s movie soundtracks (it went platinum and reached the Top Ten) to feature largely new work from contemporary artists. The soundtrack's strength was the way it was so firmly rooted in place – where future soundtrack extravaganzas simply contrived to gather as many big-name acts as possible, Singles focused specifically on Seattle-area music (quite logically, given the film's plot and setting), which gave the album the feel of a cohesive document.