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 Posted:   Feb 20, 2012 - 2:02 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

I really like the film and the album. The album conveys the sad sense of desperation that pervades the film. It's a great rainy day listen.

 Posted:   Feb 20, 2012 - 3:14 PM   
 By:   DJ3J   (Member)

This album is for closers only.

 Posted:   Feb 20, 2012 - 3:15 PM   
 By:   orbital   (Member)

It takes brass balls to listen to this album.

 Posted:   Jun 15, 2013 - 4:15 PM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

I have not been able to contribute much lately, and even thinking about something interesting to write has not yielded anything worthwhile.

So, when in doubt, go with what you know.

Glengarry Glen Ross is one of my favorite scores post-1990. It is dark and hopeless city-blues jazz. I have a few scores by James Newton Howard (e.g., Water for Elephants; The Happening; Freedomland; Blood Diamond; etc.), but this one is unique bc it is all jazz compositions. It can be easy to forget that most post Silver Age American composers are completely fluent in the language of jazz (e.g., Christopher Young; Brian Tyler; Michael Giacchino; Angelo Badalementi; Alan Silvestri; Bill Conti; Bruce Broughton; Michael Kamen; etc.). JNH is no exception, and given GGR, "his jazz" stands with any of America's finest composers (e.g., John Adams, David Raksin, Henry Mancini, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Don Ellis, David Shire, Andre Previn (in a co-opted sense), etc.). Alex North is really the litmus test for jazz in film; he was the most innovative composer in that respect.

The soundtrack contains 6 JNH compositions (viz., 01 Main Title; 02 You Met My Wife; 03 The Plot; 13 In the Car; 14 Don't Sell to Doctors; and 16 The Nyborgs), and the remaining 10 tracks are standards including songs by Victor Young, Duke, Duke and Strayhorn, Irving Berlin, etc. There is even a song by Steely Dan and NJ legend Donald Fagen, although it would be a bit of a stretch to consider Fagen a straight jazzman.

The JNH compositions and arrangements are excellent, and have a great supporting line-up performing --- as a matter of fact, the entire album has some of the best jazz players around at the time when the film was made and scored. The players on the JNH compositions are: Wayne Shorter on sax (he's done well known solo dates on Blue Note in the late 60s, and was the sax player in Weather Report; he played in Miles Davis' second quintet; I saw him and Stanley Clarke playing with Michel Petrucciani in NYC in the 90s, and that was definitely MP's night); Mike Lang on piano (he's played on many many film scores and records; a fantastic pianist that I believe studied with Lalo Schifrin, and one of Schoenberg's students); John Patitucci (he's really the first master 6-string bassist; he plays Ken Smith CR basses - not here though bc this is acoustic jazz, and got his start with Chick Corea; he was the go-to bassist at Grusin's GRP from the mid-80s to the early-90s); Jeff Porcaro on drums (son of famed film score session drummer, Joe Porcaro, and the drummer in rock-group, Toto; great LA studio drummer); and Larry Bunker on vibes (he's played on many scores, including Dirty Harry and Magnum Force). It's an interesting connection if you consider Larry Bunker played on the first two Dirty Harry films, and Joe Porcaro played on The Enforcer, and for this session, Joe's son Jeff plays drums, while Larry does the vibes, which basically sets the more modern jazz tone for the JNH compositions --- in the 70s, a Wurlitzer might have been used instead of vibes (or Gary Burton -- hahaha). The Wayne Shorter sax lines on the Main Title and The Nyborgs will actually stop you dead in your tracks; it's a yearning line that really tugs at your heart-strings. Incidentally, if you dig the way Wayne sounds on these sessions, then check out a live NYC recording he did called "Manhattan Project" (1989) -- you will enjoy the similarities with GGR immensely.

The old Victor Young standard, "Street of Dreams," is track 4, and was arranged and conducted by jazz film score legend, Johnny Mandel, who has done scores for: MASH; The Sandpiper; Point Blank; Author! Author! (rejected); The Verdict; The Seven-Ups (rejected); The Drums of Africa; etc. Ron Carter plays bass and Grady Tate plays drums. Ron Carter played in Miles Davis bands, and is a master bassist, although he is not supportive of electric bass at all. Fathead Newman plays the sax solo on Young's "Street of Dreams," and Jimmy Scott does the vocals. In general, it is a great take under Mandel's baton. Track 5 is "You Better Go Now," another old standard, that is also arranged and conducted by Mandel, with Chuck Domanico on bass, and Shirley Horn on piano and vocals. Her soulful vocals support the drama with passion, and gives life to the dread of the desperate situation faced by the film's characters. Track 7 is Duke's "Prelude to a Kiss" and also has Chuck Domanico playing bass, with Jimmy Rowls on piano, Pete Chrisleib on sax, Jeff Hamilton on drums, and John Chiodini on guitar. The arrangement was done by Bill Holman, and Mandel conducts Holman's Big Band in a very excellent take of the Duke classic.

I mentioned that the soundtrack music is dark blues, but there is also a smattering of irony given Take 6's performance of the old standard "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows," which is track 6, and a beautiful little song from the Golden Age that was also recently used by Carter Burwell in the HBO series Mildred Pierce with Kate Winslet. Take 6 is a vocal group, and they are on some modern jazz film scores. You can hear them doing Moon River with Stevie Wonder playing harmonica on the Ultimate Mancini SACD. The irony continues on the eighth track, "Easy Street," which was written by the famous song-writing team of Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. John Patitucci and Jeff Hamilton team-up to form the rhythm section, Jeff Clayton plays the sax solo, and Georgie Fame's spirited vocal take draws attention to the gray situation faced by the film's characters.

Track 9 is a Duke/Strayhorn composition called "Day Dream," which features David Sanborn. David Sanborn practically re-invented sax soloing in the 90s, and Michael Kamen designed a whole sax concerto specifically for Sanborn, which FSM member Lehah sent me - thanks again amigo. The bass is played by one of my personal modern day favorites, Charnett Moffit. He is a very original bassist, and his size allows him to really control the bass. I have seen him play with Stanley Jordan, and in that show, he used a bow with some mic'ing of his double-bass and distortion on the signal path to create really psychedelic sounds. He is a powerful bassist for sure. And for those that are unfamiliar with Billy Strayhorn, he was the fellow that wrote the anthem of jazz darkness, "Lush Life." He also worked with Duke on many of his biggest songs, and is generally jointly credited with Duke on those songs.

Track 10 is "Tear Filled Skies" by Joe Roccisano, who led his own band for years in LA. He came up with Tommy Dorsey and Don Ellis, and is a pretty awesome sax player. On this particular track, however, it is the trumpet, played by Joe Gisbert, that will ultimately draw you in; it's a very melancholic line that creates a sense of sadness with the listener. Track 12, "Blue Lou," is also played by the Roccisano Big Band, and the song was written by Donald Fagen. Anyone familiar with Fagen knows that he can do nice jazz changes even on the Steely Dan records. His solo records (viz., Nightfly; Morph the Cat) really showcase his jazz sensibilities, and his love and respect for Duke Ellington. Fagen was always a very clever musician and writer.

There are two different takes of Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies." One version is sung by Al Jarreau with John Patitucci on bass and Peter Erskine on drums. This is a very amazing take, with Patitucci going into "machine-gun" sixteenth-note mode, and Erskine playing as if he was actually born with two wooden sticks attached to his hands. It is a great take, and Al does his typical vocal approach. Very nice. The other take is with Dr. John singing, and I suppose this is the connection to the old NOLA where jazz was (kind of) born. Dr. John's take is a bit more focused on the sadness of the lyrics, and he does very well also, especially with his typical Cajun cadences accenting the lyrics.

So, hopefully everyone enjoys GGR. I was trying to focus on the studio musicians playing on this soundtrack tbh, mostly bc I cannot recall a film score having so many recognized jazz greats performing at once. It is really a gem, and if you do jazz from any era, this soundtrack will be one you enjoy very much.

Here is a "quick-find" list of musicians on this record:
Kenny Barron - piano --- track 4
Larry Bunker - vibes --- tracks 1,2,3,11,13,14,16
Ron Carter - bass --- track 4
John Chiodini - guitar --- track 7
Terry Clarke - drums --- track 5
Jeff Clayton - sax --- track 8
Chuck Domanico - bass --- tracks 5,7
Peter Erskine - drums --- track 11
Georgie Fame - vocals --- Track 8
Russ Ferrante - piano --- track 11
Joe Gisbert - trumpet --- track 9
Jeff Hamilton - drums --- tracks 7,8
Shirley Horn - piano, vocals --- track 5
Anthony Jackson - bass --- track 15
Al Jarreau - vocals --- track 11
Dr. John - piano, vocals --- track 15
Johnny Mandel - conductor, arranger --- tracks 4,5,7,15
Lou Marini - alto sax --- track 12
Mulgrew Miller - piano --- track 9
Charnett Moffit - bass --- track 9
Fathead Newman - sax --- track 4
James Newton Howard - composer, conductor, arranger --- tracks 1,2,3,13,14,16
John Patitucci - bass --- tracks 1,2,3,8,11,13,14,16
Jeff Porcaro - drums --- tracks 1,2,3,13,14,16
Ben Riley - drums --- track 9
Joe Roccisano - arranger, conductor --- tracks 10,12
Jimmy Rowls - piano --- tracks 7,8
David Sanborn - sax --- track 9
Jimmy Scott - vocals --- track 4
Bob Sheppard - sax --- track 11
Wayne Shorter - sax --- tracks 1,2,3,13,14,16
Take 6 - vocals --- track 6
Gray Tate - drums --- track 4
Steve Williams - drums --- track 5

 Posted:   Jun 15, 2013 - 4:57 PM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

Dang! I forgot to mention Anthony Jackson, who is another 6-string bassist from the 70s. He plays on the Dr. John's take of Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies." He became famous for being the only bass player that could double Al DiMeola lines; he played with Al D throughout the 70s while Al D was winning all of those Guitar Player of the year awards. He also plays a Ken Smith CR, like Patitucci, but uses a pick. He has played on a few soundtracks, but most notably, The Color of Money with Paul Newman. He is a big fella - he only plays while sitting, even in the 70s. He was a studio bassist, but I do not believe he could sight-read. No worries bc he is a great bassist!

 Posted:   Jun 15, 2013 - 5:12 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Thanks Lexedo.

The GGR OST is routinely available for 49 cents everywhere.

Does anyone know if there is any underscore in the film that did not make it to the CD? I watched the film recently and recognized practically everything I heard.

 Posted:   Jun 16, 2013 - 5:14 PM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

OB, nice to hear from you amigo... it's been awhile. Anyway, I think most of the music used in the film is on the ST CD. I'll have to review when I'm in later this month.


No one ever cares about the bassists. It's a conspiracy theory I subscribe to. Anyway, with all the GGR talk, and with all the cool bassists on that ST, I wanted to show everyone some of the "low-enders" I was referring to.

John Patitucci: I think this pic is from his early 90s instructional video, but that is the original Ken Smith CR he played until he became rich and famous (jk).

Charnett Moffett's crazy tone from arco playing as I mentioned above. When I saw him do this, he was soloing using whole-tone scales; it was an eye-opener for sure.

Ron Carter is really the GrandMaster Bassist of Jazz. I wish he wasn't so down on electric, though.

Chuck Domanico has been on hundreds of film scores, and was a steady Hollywood studio hand for years. He even played with Don Ellis' band - maybe Live in Monterey. Amazing.

Anthony Jackson: There are not so many 1970s pics of AJ with his Ken Smith CR floating around, so I had to improvise by using the thumbnail on the back of "Tour De Force Live," which is an amazing live record of Al D's band from 1982. Even though the pic is a little small, notice that he sits while playing. He usually plopped down on the drum-riser. Sick player. He used a phaser as part of his "stock-tone" in those days - check a tune called "Flight Over Rio."

 Posted:   Jun 16, 2013 - 11:41 PM   
 By:   spook   (Member)

Great post Lexedo. After reading your thoughts i ordered the cd right way. This is why i still love this board. You still find discussions amongst all the regular crap that lead to discovering new music and thats what its all about.

 Posted:   Jun 17, 2013 - 7:20 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

I always loved the lonesome, nostalgic '40s feel to James Newton Howard's GUILTY BY SUSPICION. The LP which I have doesn't credit the musicians - maybe lexedo or somebody has more info? I think it's Brian Bromberg on bass. He was on a few Grusin soundtracks like HAVANA and THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS... Anyway, this isn't GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, but it's beautiful to my ears.


 Posted:   Jun 17, 2013 - 7:43 AM   
 By:   Josh "Swashbuckler" Gizelt   (Member)

This is a really intense score that is very effective in the movie. I like the album as well, nicely organized.

Ron Carter has composed several films scores of his own, including Bertrand Tavernier's La passion Béatrice.

I'm also interested in finding out the personnel on Guilty By Suspicion if anybody knows...

 Posted:   Jun 17, 2013 - 7:48 AM   
 By:   Mike S   (Member)

I love these kinds of posts, where someone shares his expertise on one little corner of our universe. Bravo, sir!

I love the film but I'm really not all that familiar with the score, though I have the album. Jazz scores of this ilk were never my thing, frankly, but this thread has definitely inspired me to go back and revisit this one.

 Posted:   Jun 17, 2013 - 7:54 AM   
 By:   Shaun Rutherford   (Member)

This is a really intense score that is very effective in the movie. I like the album as well, nicely organized.

Ron Carter has composed several films scores of his own, including Bertrand Tavernier's La passion Béatrice.

I'm also interested in finding out the personnel on Guilty By Suspicion if anybody knows...

Swash, I don't think I'd ever describe the Glengarry Glen Ross score as intense! I like it, though!

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