MS/NBC's Martin Bashir spoke about Jerome Moross yesterday. A political news and discussion show, I was surprised to hear the main theme from The Big Country when the show returned from a commercial break.
"Immediately recognizable music ," he said, "became the quintessential sound of the western, a movie genre that is as indelibly American as anything in the world. And that particular composition was nominated for an Academy Award in 1959 for best original score after the release of The Big Country, starring Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons and Charlton Heston. Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of the composer, Jerome Moross. He didn't just produce the iconic movie soundtrack, he also helped to define other essential components of the nation's musical history from the classical to musical theater to jazz, including the song "Lazy Afternoon".
After a clip of Sarah Vaughn singing the song, Bashir returned to say, "It's worth noting that the composer whose work has been so important to the development of American music was actually the son of immigrants, his parents were Russian Jews who settled here in New York in the early 1900's, the son of immigrants . . ."
He then tied it all together about the subject of immigration in this country today. America is a big country for immigrants.
I won't get into all of that. I was just genuinely surprised and happy to hear someone on the news mention Jerome Moross's name. (The whole clip can be seen on Bashir's page over at MS/NBC)