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This is a comments thread about FSM CD: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
 Posted:   Dec 16, 2012 - 6:36 AM   
 By:   Rollin Hand   (Member)

One of my favourite track is the long dissonant organ "Smoking More, Enjoying It Less" (0:26) that reminds "First Escape" from Lalo Schifrin's "THX 1138" (1970). Both FSM releases, by the way.

To get an idea about the long dissonant organ device, hear this 1970 sample:

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2012 - 10:24 AM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

Re: Brannigan & the LSO: Thanks Simon and everyone. I wondered about the LSO and Brannigan; the LSO plays everything else, so why not? Brannigan is a great 70s score. In retrospect, Frontiere and LSO seem to be a perfect match given the energy of the score. Great guitar work on that ST too, not as light as Eric Gale or Grant Geisman or Earl Klugh, but very excellent and clean playing. The reason I thought maybe the drummer was an LSO member is the down-stroke rolls he does right before he nails his floor-toms; what a powerful player w metronome timing. Just perfect. I know almost nothing about Brit studio hands. It's really terrible on my part, but for the era in question, just focusing on the "east coast / west coast home-team" is a full-time gig. Anyway, I know John Mclaughlin's stuff very well, and that'll at least get me a smile in most UK guitar shops.

Re: AK: It defintely didn't hear AK with Anita O'Day on Green Dolphin Street, but that would have been one helluva historic film music performance. I'm going to give the instrumental take a another listen bc I haven't played this ST in a bit tbh.

I wouldn't worry about de-railing the thread. As long as it's 70s jazz-funk-fusion in film, it's valid discussion bc Shire's score is really the beginning of all of those discussions anyway - he is one of the key architects of the 1970s "city sound," and from an academic perspective, Pelham 123 represents one of the very most important pieces of 1970s urban music. The only other score that is equally important in that respect is Don Ellis' French Connection, another FSM gem.

Smoking More, Enjoying It Less -- the story of my life these days. The $$$ Montage is blistering. The rhythm of the NYC subways are everywhere, starting w the Main Title. The End Title is just so clever, and Artie Kane's piano is dead-on. Pelham 123 and the FC are probably my two most played scores. Gershwin and Bernstein did the Golden Age NYC music; Shire and D Ellis did the Silver Age NYC music.

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2012 - 11:07 AM   
 By:   TheFamousEccles   (Member)

I've written my thoughts about this score elsewhere - suffice to say, it's one of Shire's crowning achievements - the fusion and collision of the Second Viennese School with contemporary American idioms - every element of it works like no other, and it's a score I will never tire of. The intelligence and sophistication of the approach is carried over into the neurotic exuberance of the compositions themselves - this is (along with many other scores) film music for the concert hall. The film, too, is just marvelous - the sort of elegant, wryly witty thriller that we need more of.

Every orchestrator - and a few pianists - I've known has referred to Artie Kane as "the greatest session pianist, and his work here is another example of his versatility of touch. Some of my favorite work of his, though, is on Johnny Mandel's "The Sandpiper," he lends such a light, elegant touch to Mandel's source music, it wouldn't seem out of place in a supper club, or on a jazz album of the time (probably one with a woman curling up on an animal skin rug for the cover).

Hey, lexedo, I'd say not to forget Alfred Newman in your list of Golden-Age New York writers - sure "Street Scene" owes a debt to Gershwin, but it's sort of a bridge between the Gershwin and Bernstein aesthetics, and Newman's smart orchestrations do a lot to create an accurately diverse musical portrait of that great city.

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2012 - 6:18 PM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

FamousEccles: That was a really great write-up. Of course Newman and Copland should be considered wrt Golden Age NYC. Please check this thread on Golden Age NYC bc it's shocking that you have not responded w similar insights. :-D

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2012 - 7:14 PM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

Probably important to recognize Shire's SNF music too, especially given the period and NYC spin. He is a master composer, very much under-utilized. A Yale graduate too. A gifted fellow in general.

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