The GullCottage  / sandlot
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                        Celebrating the Art of Cinema, ... and Cinema as Art


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  April / May / June 2012

* (April - June 2012) PASSENGER 57 (1992), GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (1992), THE FIRM (1993)
* (Dec. 2011 / Jan. 2012) TANGO & CASH (1989), THE GOLDEN CHILD (1986), BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA ('86)
* (Sept. / Oct. 2011)  DEATH WISH (1974), THELMA & LOUISE (1991), POLLOCK (2001)


Selected suites of film music for your listening pleasure. 

Enjoy while working or traveling. 

New suites added regularly. 




by CEJ

     Jazz in film is nothing new.  When Alex North first incorporated the sound of “America’s premier musical art form” into the orchestral fabric of 1951’s A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951) it was the “shot heard ‘round the world” which would lift the movie score out of it's staid lap of European classicism and into the more contemporary, kinetic, blue collar-ish (and in some opinions of the day) “profane” hands of that increasingly popular and distinctly western improvisational medium with it's roots in the southern-born blues / folk tradition.  From that “cinema history” point on,  jazz and film would engage in a complex 60 year + “dance”:  an ironic choreography performed and recorded on the outer edge of that narrow old-school acetate strip known as the “soundtrack” -  a complex give and take between the near Draconian minutiae of film timing / scene sequencing and the “free and funky” improvisational nature at the heart of Jazz.  

                                                                                                                              STREETCAR ('51) - Music by Alex North

     Which is not to say Jazz has no structure.  Quite the contrary.  Next to the Classical idiom itself, few musical genres are as demandingly as structured as Jazz - laying down it’s often complex / virtuoso musical paradigm framework (central theme if you will), which is then repeated throughout the piece as a combination "bridge" and summation to one virtuoso soloist’s improvisational interlude while at the same time serving as "bridge" intro for the next.  For this reason a new breed of Jazz / Classical performers would in the 1960s / 70s come to the fore of concert stages of both musical genres: artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Jon-Luc Ponty and Pat Metheny among them.  Around this same time (and for the same reason - an adroit facility with the demands of both disciplines) a new generation of Jazz artists / film composers would also arise:  men like Andre Previn, Quincy Jones, Henry Mancini, John Williams (who began as a Jazz keyboardist for Previn), Lalo Schifrin, Dave Grusin and Herbie Hancock. 

            SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957) - Music by Elmer Bernstein / featuring the Chico Hamilton Quintet

     Following in the footsteps of these innovative “older brethren”, another wave of talented Jazz & classically trained “young Turks” would emerge in the 1980s and 90s - among them Howard Shore (THE FLY, LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy), James Newton Howard (THE SIXTH SENSE, OUTBREAK), Mark Isham (QUIZ SHOW, RESERVATION ROAD), Terence Blanchard (MALCOLM X, INSIDE MAN) and Stanley Clarke.  While now and again some would return to their straight-up Jazz roots in refreshingly off beat film scores such as Williams’ CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (2002), Grusin’s THE FIRM (1993), and especially Isham’s LITTLE MAN TATE (1991) and Howard’s GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (1992 - and reminiscent of his days as band leader of “JAMES NEWTON HOWARD AND FRIENDS”), with the notable exceptions of Blanchard and Clarke, all would for the most part vacate the Jazz world in favor of film.  Even Dave Grusin (notable for his Jazz-infused THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE, THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR, THE YAKUZA, THE NICKEL RIDE, TOOTSIE and HAVANA) would in the 2000s begin to cut back on his voluminous output as both film composer and GRP Jazz label entrepreneur; leaving but Blanchard and Clarke as the only two remaining bonafied jazz men to regularly, successfully, and to great acclaim, cross back and forth between the dual worlds of Jazz and film. 

     While both deserve an equal amount of attention, we’ve chosen for now to save Blanchard as the future subject of a TunePlay focus, and to today concentrate on Clarke - master of the double bass and film composer extraordinaire.  Our reasoning was simple ... and admittedly rather subjective.   As a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (our GullCottage / Sandlot hometown), the world- renowned Clarke has always been near and dear to the hearts of our local creative community.  


     Born in Philadelphia in June 1951, Clarke began studying bass as a child when he arrived late to school one day and it was one of the only instruments left.  After high school he’d attend Philadelphia Music Academy (now part of the University of the Arts), then move to New York, where in the early 1970s his talent would place him within the bands of Jazz legends Art Blakey, Pharoah Saunders, Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, and most notably keyboardist Chick Corea - as part of his innovative Jazz / fusion ensemble RETURN TO FOREVER.  Playing the horizontal electric and double basses in a manner similar to how most played upright bass (with his fingers partially hooking under the strings, then letting go for a “slap ’n pop” effect against the frets), Clarke helped bring a popular “funk” groove to jazz at a time when groups such as Sly & The Family StoneParliament Funkadelic (featuring Bootsy Collins and George Clinton) and the bass playing The Brothers Johnson were burning up the R&B charts. 

                                                                                                 Hiromi Uehara, Clarke, Ronald Bruner Jr., Ruslan Sirota

     Clarke would release four solo albums in the first half of the 1970s - his fourth, SCHOOL DAYS (1976), quickly becoming not only one of the biggest selling Jazz albums of the era, but also a favorite in the collections of many R&B aficionados.  Over the next 30 years he'd (among his many accomplishments) release a trio of legendary CLARKE / DUKE PROJECT lps in collaboration with keyboard master George Duke; team and embark on various world tours with international music legends Stewart Copeland, Bela Fleck, Al di Meola, Jean-Luc Ponty and others.  And somewhere in there find the time to join with designer Tom Lieber in the production of a limited run of much sought after (and now incredibly valuable)Spellbinder basses - one of which Clarke gave as a gift to Paul McCartney.  He'd also spearhead the Stanley Clarke Scholarship Concert (an all-star event to raise money for music students in financial need), and begin a scoring career in the early 1980s with Fred Williamson’s theatrical release ONE DOWN TWO TO GO and the TV series KNIGHTWATCH, A MAN CALLED HAWKE and the popular PEE WEE’S PLAYHOUSE.  



     Since then he’s gone on to score over 70 films to date, including John Singleton's BOYZ ’N THE HOOD (1991), POETIC JUSTICE (‘93) and HIGHER LEARNING (’95);  Brian Gibson’s Tina Turner bio-pic WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT (’93);  Andrew Scheinman’s family baseball fantasy LITTLE BIG LEAGUE (’94);  Darrell James Roodt’s DANGEROUS GROUND (’99),  Walter Hill’s prison boxing actioner UNDISPUTED (’02);  Maya Angelou’s DOWN IN THE DELTA (’98);  Malcolm Lee’s cult comedy hit UNDERCOVER BROTHER (‘02);  numerous MURDER SHE WROTE tv movies; Luc Besson’s THE TRANSPORTER (‘02) and many others.  His quintessential score in our opinion however is certainly to Kevin Hook’s airborne terrorist adventure PASSENGER 57 (1992) starring Wesley Snipes, Bruce Payne, Tom Sizemore, Bruce Greenwood and Elizabeth Hurley. 

     An obvious (though incredibly enjoyable) DIE HARD knock-off, the producers of PASSENGER 57 also obviously wanted the audience to subconsciously identify their film with the earlier Bruce Willis hit via a similar “Michael Kamen-esque DIE HARD / LETHAL WEAPON orchestral-action-epic” sound within the score of their film.  To his credit Clarke (abetted by veteran orchestrator William Kidd) delivered the required goods; especially in tracks such as the thrilling (and definitely Kamen-esque) “Ferris Wheel”.  But rather than simply ape another composer’s style (a shortcoming increasingly prevalent in film scoring of the 2000s),  Clarke managed to make PASSENGER his own by infusing the bulk of it's musical narrative with his own trademark harmonics and “slap ’n pop” Jazz / funk fusion sound - most notably in the “Main Title”, “Rane To Plane”, “Motorcycles” and “Have A Nice Flight”.   In fact PASSENGER 57 would contain enough musical DNA identifying it as a straight-up Clarke product that two of it’s CD tracks would receive (and to this day continue to garner) a decent amount of steady Jazz FM airplay: the smooth pop groove-like “Lookin’ Good - Cutter’s Theme” (the main motif representing Wesley Snipes cool confidence - remember, "Always bet on black!") and the sinewously sexy “Lisa” - reminiscent in respects to the tonal vibe of THE CLARKE / DUKE PROJECT’s top twenty hit “Sweet Baby”. 

     Enjoy the flight. 

CEJ - April 2012

PASSENGER 57 (1992) - Stanley Clarke:


Stanley Clarke: Tenor Bass, Electric Bass, Piccolo Bass, Acoustic Bass, Synthesizers
George Duke: Keyboards
Paul Jackson, Jr.: Guitar
John Robinson: Drums
Gerry Brown: Drums
Bobby Lyle: Keyboards
Gerald Albright: Soprano Sax, Alto Sax
Reggie Hamilton: Electric Bass
Neil Stubenhause: Electric Bass
Alexis England: Vocals on "Lisa"

    Main Title (3:22)

    Lookin' Good - Cutter's Theme (3:50)

    Lisa (5:55)

    Rane To Plane (2:05)

                Ferris Wheel (2:29)

                Motorcycles (:54)

                Have A Nice Flight (1:42)


Site Search Index:

- 1993 (Dave Grusin)


Written, Perf. & Prod. by Dave Grusin

Main Title (3:47)

Ray's Blues (4:33)

Memphis Stomp (3:37)

Mud Island Chase (3:52)


GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS - 1992 (James Newton Howard -
 featuring Wayne Shorter


Written & Conducted by
James Newton Howard
Arranged by James Newton Howard & Brad Dechter
Wayne Shorter: Sax
Mike Lang: Piano
John Patitucci: Bass
Jeff Porcaro: Drums
Lenny Castro: Percussion
Larry Bunker: Vibes

                Main Title (4:16)

                You Met My Wife (2:53)

                The Plot (3:36)

                In The Car (2:21)

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