Archive for the ‘Dave Grusin’ Category
Though the 50th anniversary of Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss’ A&M Records got some well-deserved attention earlier this year, another unit of Universal Music Group was also celebrating a milestone anniversary. GRP Records, founded by Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen, was founded in 1978, as an imprint of Arista Records known as “Arista/GRP.” This arrangement was similar to Creed Taylor’s CTI label, which first existed as part of A&M. Much as Taylor struck out on his own, so did Grusin and Rosen, and in 1982, GRP went independent. That’s the date chosen by Verve Music Group as the true birth of GRP, and the starting point for GRP 30: The Digital Master Company 30th Anniversary, a 2-CD, 30-track overview compiled by Grusin, Rosen and Richard Havers.
By 1978, keyboardist/composer Dave Grusin was already an established figure in the worlds of film scoring (The Graduate, Three Days of the Condor) and jazz. Larry Rosen was a musician, too, starting his career as a drummer. In the early 1960s, the two men became acquainted as members of Andy Williams’ band – Grusin as pianist and conductor, Rosen as drummer. When Rosen was producing 1972’s Rashida for artist Jon Lucien, he called upon Grusin as an arranger. Soon after, the two began a production partnership that encompassed recordings on various labels, from artists as diverse as Earl Klugh and Patti Austin. It was only natural, then, that Grusin and Rosen would spread their wings and fly solo. After the success of Arista/GRP, the next logical step was to go independent. GRP took inspiration from jazz labels like CTI and ECM, and got attention early as “The Digital Master Company.” Grusin and Rosen both took a keen interest in digital recording and compact disc technology, and GRP was at the vanguard of the CD’s initial launch. The GRP roster included Grusin himself as bandleader, plus his brother Don, Lee Ritenour, Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Diane Schuur, Patti Austin, The Brecker Brothers and many others. The label took on projects from legends of the jazz genre like Dizzy Gillespie and Gerry Mulligan, and in its later years, discovered the young Diana Krall.
In 1987, GRP entered into a distribution deal with MCA Records, and in 1990, MCA (later Universal Music Group) purchased GRP from Grusin and Rosen. The label was soon renamed MCA-GRP and took over control of many of MCA’s classic jazz holdings including records from the Impulse! and Decca catalogues. Grusin and Rosen departed GRP in 1995, with noted producer Tommy LiPuma taking the reins from them. GRP was later absorbed into Verve, where the imprint resides today.
What will you find on GRP 30? Hit the jump for more, including a full track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »
After a quiet month for soundtracks, save the score reissue to little-seen art-house flick Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the past week has seen three releases from Intrada and Film Score Monthly readied for film music aficionados.
Intrada’s first title did an excellent job of satiating anyone’s post-Trek desire for more Jerry Goldsmith; it’s the unreleased, unused score to 1996′s 2 Days in the Valley. A twisty thriller with a solid cast (Charlize Theron, Eric Stoltz, James Spader, Teri Hatcher and Jeff Daniels among its ranks), 2 Days inspired Goldsmith to create a score that evoked the suspenseful Chinatown in some ways, with a main theme anchored around a trumpet line and strings. While a rock-themed score by Anthony Marinelli ultimately scored the picture, fans can now uncover a lost treasure in the late, great composer’s discography. The disc., sourced from Bruce Botnick’s two-track digital session mixes in the Paramount vaults, features liner notes by Jeff Bond.
The quirkier of the two entries in Intrada’s catalogue this time around is the label’s latest Signature Edition title. Richard Band’s score to Dragonworld, an obscure but fun family-friendly adventure film featuring mythical, winged beasts in Scotland, is the order of the day, featuring the complete, heretofore score with liner notes from Band and director Ted Nicolanu.
And what did Film Score Monthly prepare as it inches toward the finish line? Find out after the jump.
With hyperbole the norm, it’s questionable just how many buyers took notice of a 1957 album on the Liberty label entitled The Versatile Henry Mancini. Yet fewer record titles have proven as apt. As frequent collaborator Blake Edwards noted, “Whether the situation is romantic, humorous, tragic, ironic or full of action, Mancini creates exactly the right musical mood.” Mancini’s breakthrough came two years after that LP’s release, when Edwards enlisted him to provide the cool jazz-inflected score to the television drama Peter Gunn. Though no such albums exist, it’s easy to imagine LPs titled The Versatile Dave Grusin and The Versatile Cy Coleman. These gentlemen shared with Mancini a passion for jazz, a vibrant recording career and an uncanny knack for film scoring. Grusin, a co-founder of GRP Records, began his film score career in 1967, parallel to his work as an arranger, composer and musician. Coleman, after making a name for himself as the pianist and leader of The Cy Coleman Trio, was still a young man when he made major contributions to the American songbook with tunes like “Witchcraft,” “You Fascinate Me So” and “The Best Is Yet to Come.” He then established himself as a top-tier composer of Broadway musicals like Sweet Charity and Barnum, dabbling in film composition along the way.
Thanks to the tireless talents of producers Douglass Fake and Bruce Kimmel, at the Intrada and Kritzerland labels, respectively, three very different scores by Messrs. Mancini, Grusin and Coleman have recently arrived on CD. These albums are about as close to pure musical joy as one could find. Intrada has delivered the first-ever soundtrack for the 1976 television miniseries The Moneychangers (Special Collection 172), starring Christopher Plummer and Kirk Douglas, with an expansive score by Mancini, while Kritzerland has offered a two-on-one release of the soundtracks to two comedies starring Dick Van Dyke: 1965’s The Art of Love, by Coleman, and 1967’s Divorce, American Style by Grusin (KR 20019-6). Even if you’re not a film score aficionado, you can’t go wrong with these albums; both are distinct listening experiences that conjure up a particular instrumental milieu and transport you there.
To steal from one of Coleman’s titles, “Kick Off Your Shoes,” hit the jump, and I’ll meet you there! Read the rest of this entry »
What Oscar-winning composer let the world know “And Then There’s Maude,” joined Billy Joel on 52nd Street and The Nylon Curtain, and shared the music of The Graduate with Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel? Something’s telling me it might be Dave Grusin. His score to The Goonies was described as a “holy grail” by this very site back in March 2010 upon the occasion of its first release on the Varese Sarabande label, and it was indeed snapped up near-immediately. But when it comes to a Grusin collection, The Goonies alone isn’t good enough! Kritzerland has already lavished the deluxe treatment on his scores to A Dry White Season (1989) and Mulholland Falls (1996), but for the label’s next release, the clock is turning back to the very first score that launched Grusin’s career. Producer Bruce Kimmel tells The Second Disc, “I’d tried licensing [the 1967 Norman Lear-Bud Yorkin comedy] Divorce, American Style a year ago from MGM. They did the research and found they did not own it and that the album rights were at Capitol; several UA albums went that route, including the Bond films. Once I knew that, then it went right on my list there.” Kimmel’s patience paid off.
Beloved American funnyman Dick Van Dyke headlined Divorce, American Style, describing it in his wonderful recent memoir as a “sprawling, topical comedy.” Two years earlier, he starred in another big-screen comedy, The Art of Love, with another Norman – this time, director Norman Jewison. That score was composed by Cy Coleman, the Broadway baby behind Sweet Charity, City of Angels and Little Me. Kimmel thought of the earlier film, and so the label’s latest two-for-one reissue was born. Kritzerland’s Divorce, American Style/The Art of Love reissues the original soundtrack albums as heard on United Artists and Capitol, respectively. Both titles have been freshly remastered, of course, but the producer’s sleuthing at both the movie studio and record label has led to a Divorce that will sound more vibrant than ever. Kimmel confirms, “MGM did have the four-track masters [to Divorce] in their vaults and they gave them to us to use, which was great. Capitol only had the two-track album master, which I wasn’t that crazy about because they’d added a ton of reverb, and the natural reverb that was on the four-tracks was much cleaner and much more real.” So Grusin’s premier score will be presented in sparkling, crisp sound, and with additional material: “Every note of what was on the four-tracks has been used and put where it belongs in the score sequence.”
And both scores have more than just Dick Van Dyke in common! When not receiving Oscar nominations for films like Tootsie, The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Firm, Heaven Can Wait and On Golden Pond, Grusin has had a parallel career as a jazz musician, founding GRP Records along the way. Coleman, too, came from a jazz background, leading The Cy Coleman Trio and writing such standards as “Witchcraft” and “The Best Is Yet to Come.” So it’s no surprise that both scores have jazz leanings. Both also owe a bit, in different ways, to Henry Mancini’s style. Kimmel tells us, quite correctly, that “anyone who only knows Grusin from The Goonies really doesn’t know Grusin.” He offers, “This is more like the Grusin of Tootsie, only ‘60s hip rather than ‘80s hip. He was very much in the Mancini mode for Divorce, but it really is uniquely Grusin and surprisingly the film is not a typical comedy score; it’s got some real depth to it and it’s very clever.” Coleman’s soundtrack LP to The Art of Love followed the established Mancini pattern of actually consisting of cues re-recorded for a pop-oriented audience. Divorce melodically fuses many disparate musical styles, much like Grusin’s contributions to The Graduate, including jazz, romance, baroque and even a Tijuana Brass-inspired tune. But there’s also much drama in the scoring, befitting a sophisticated film from Norman Lear’s pen.
Dave Grusin and the late Cy Coleman have long been two of the coolest cats in music, and this may indeed be the coolest soundtrack of the year! Both scores are making their first-ever appearance on CD. Divorce is a touchstone for Grusin’s career, while Broadway great Coleman’s film work (also including Father Goose, The Troublemaker and The Heartbreak Kid) has been terribly under-represented on disc. You can bring this exciting pairing (a limited edition of 1,000) home by the last week of August for the price of $19.98 plus shipping, but pre-orders from the label usually ship one to five weeks earlier.
Hit the jump for the complete press release, plus the track listing and pre-order link, where you can hear sound samples! Read the rest of this entry »