Now Playing: Movie Themes - Solo Piano
In a remarkably prolific career that spans nearly five decades, Dave Grusin has distinguished himself as a composer, arranger, musician and bandleader, as well as a recording artist with over 25 albums to his credit and co-founder of the influential jazz label GRP. Perhaps the most impressive element of his monumental resume is his status as one of America's premier soundtrack composers, with more than 60 feature film scores (as well as numerous television projects) under his belt. Grusin's vividly evocative movie work—which has earned him eight Academy Award nominations—draws upon jazz, pop, and classical, as well as a variety of ethnic traditions.
Dave Grusin's identities as world-class film composer and accomplished, expressive pianist converge, with compelling results, on his new GRP release Now Playing. The album finds the artist performing intimate solo piano interpretations of 15 soundtrack pieces, including favorites from such crowd-pleasing hits as On Golden Pond, Tootsie and The Firm and lesser-known pieces from sleepers like Havana, Mulholland Falls and The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter. A particular favorite of Grusin's is the Hispanic-flavored three-part suite from his Oscar-winning soundtrack for 1988's The Milagro Beanfield War.
Noting the enduring quality of the pieces that comprise Now Playing, Grusin observes, "I think that, because of the evocative nature of this stuff, it has a certain staying power. It's not trendy, but it's not going to go away either.
"It was interesting to have a chance to go over everything again and resurrect some things that seemed to work for piano," Grusin notes, adding, "A lot of the original pieces were not originally piano-based—the themes from Havana were orchestral, and Heaven Can Wait was written for soprano sax, because that's what Warren Beatty's character played in the film. So it was an interesting challenge getting them to work for piano. In a few instances, it wasn't possible for me to physically play the piece and get all the material in, so I kind of cheated and overdubbed second tracks.
Grusin broke into feature-film scoring when Andy Williams Show producers Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin tapped him to provide the music for their 1967 comedy Divorce American Style. He took to the assignment immediately. "The whole process was fascinating to me, and I learned quickly," he recalls. Grusin quickly emerged as part of a vanguard of new, cutting-edge soundtrack composers, demonstrating the range of his talents on such diverse projects as the smash social satire The Graduate, the period drama The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, the revisionist western Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here and the psychedelic comedy romp Candy.
It's a combination of enthusiasm and creativity that's allowed Dave Grusin to excel in his far-ranging musical endeavors for nearly half a century. And it's those same qualities that make Now Playing such a potent representation of Grusin's timeless artistry.
R. Dombrowski in stereoplay 8 / 04: "Zwar hat Dave Grusin
einen Oscar und sechs Grammys bekommen, Soundtracks wie
"Tootsie" geschrieben und das Label GRP mitgegründet.
Trotzdem kennen nur die Spezialisten den Jazzpianisten
und Komponisten aus Colorado. Zum 70. Geburtstag leistete
sich Grusin nun ein Solo-Album. "Now Playing" ist ein
neoromantisches Jazz-Recital von Filmmelodien mit Ein-
flüssen von Edward Grieg bis Chick Corea: bedächtig,