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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
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Volume 21
January 2002

   

61* by Marc Shaiman

Running Time: 22:42

 

 Audio Clips
Track 23

61* by Marc Shaiman
Impressions by Christopher Coleman

Composed and Produced by Marc Shaiman
Conducted By Pete Anthony
Orchestrated By Jeff Atmajian, Frank Bennett, Harvey Cohen,
John Kull, Pat Russ, and David De Palo
Released by Jellybean Records August 7, 2001

Slipping into the film music fold of 2001 with very little fanfare was Marc Shaiman's Americana-score to 61* - the story of Roger Maris' and Mickey Mantle's epic battle to break Babe Ruth's home run record.  For those who fell in love with Shaiman's memorable theme from An American President, a good portion of this soundtrack will be appealing.  It's main theme is, like An American President's, is certainly inspirational, but somehow creeps just "over the top."  Despite frequent use, the theme doesn't carry the score as easily as Shaiman's 1995 theme did.  There still remain some true trailer-worthy moments such as Flashback (3), Underdog (8), and even Hair & Hip (13) which is very Horneresque.

61* offers more than it's main theme.  The score features both a number of notable, softer cues as well as a handful of jazz pieces - penned by Shaiman as well.   61* gains much of its appeal from the softer performances of the main theme [Out of the Race (14)] and with its romantic theme heard in tracks such as: Post Kidney Threat (7) and Pillow Talk (12). Characterizing the era, a few jazz tunes are included, but fail to enhance the experience of the CD much.  Even the quaint employment of a lead "whistler" fails to make these Sweet-Georgia-Brown-like tracks very appealing.

In the end, 61* is mildly disappointing, but the score is not without its poignant moments and could be a score that one grows to truly appreciate.

 

Rating: 5/10

Buy 61* by Marc Shaiman at Amazon.com
 

   

Jack the Bear by James Horner

Running Time: 47:21

 

 

 Audio Clips
Available at Intrada.com

Jack the Bear by James Horner
Impressions by Christopher Coleman

Composed and Conducted by James Horner
Produced by Nick Redman
Orchestrated by Joel H. Rosenbaum
Performed by: Ralph E. Grierson, Ian R. Underwood (keyboards), Tommy Morgan (harmonica),
Morris Goldberg (sax, flute), Clayton J. Haslop (violin)
Executive Producers: Douglass Fake and Roger Feigelson
Released by Intrada Records  November 2001

The early 1990's found composer James Horner fast developing his "sound."  In the early half of the decade James Horner composed several scores for smaller films such as:  The Man Without a Face, Dad and Searching for Bobby Fischer.  Intrada Records finally delivers another score from the very same year, 1993, built in a similar style, Jack the Bear.  For Jack the Bear, Horner utilizes many of the same core-themes and motifs that he has used in maybe a dozen other scores.  For those hoping for a hidden-gem from Horner, Jack the Bear will disappoint.  The largest difference is the score "smallish" sound - no big orchestra here.

The score primarily relies on the familiar piano-theme and is often accompanied by rather skimpy-sounding synthesizers.  Also helping to vaguely distinguish this effort from those mentioned above...and even Horner's second project for 2001, A Beautiful Mind, is the addition of a strangely mixed harmonica.

For serious collectors, Jack the Bear's "limited edition" status makes it an attractive purchase, but for those who already have most any of the other dramatic scores from Horner, this release doesn't offer much and just about any of these others are superior.

Rating: 4/10

Buy Jack the Bear by James Horner at Intrada.com
 

   

Kpax by Edward Shearmur

Running Time: 43:10

 

 

 Audio Clips
Track 1
Track 4

K-Pax by Edward Shearmur
Impressions by Christopher Coleman

Music Composed and Conducted by Edward Shearmur
Produced by Edward Shearmur
Orchestrated by Robert Elhai and Brad Warnaar
Performed by: Melissa Kaplan (voice solo), Chas Smith (Percussion)
Released by Decca Records - October 26, 2001

Unintentionally, it seems composer Thomas Newman has set a new era of film music into motion.  Well, at least he seems to be getting the credit for it from most and such credit has given here at Tracksounds as well.  Most of the time; however, those following in Thomas Newman's established, contemporary stylings, seem to out-do him.  American Beauty, Erin Brokovich and Pay if Forward all exhibit a specific and increasingly familiar sound of contemporary keyboards, synths, percussions.  Most any score, no matter the composer, that takes a similar approach is now lumped into this "Newmanian" style.

For some, Edward Shearmur's score for K-Pax will fall into this category, because it does share a few commonalities with this ever-growing category of film music.  Keyboards?  Yes.  Synthesizers?  Yes.  And there are others as well.  Be this as it may, K-Pax is able to set itself a part from the majority of these sorts of scores due to its dance/trip-hop edge.  Frankly, that element keeps K-Pax from being fatally absorbed into this wad of film music...and makes it an interesting listen.  Along side this techno-feel, Shearmur also delivers a heart-felt piano theme which is used extensively throughout the soundtrack as released by Decca Records.

K-Pax proves to be a delightful diversion, but is sure to put off some film music fans.  It's sometimes non-descript nature won't fit the bill for those looking for a loud, orchestral romp.  Instead, Shearmur's creativity and K-Pax's allure lie in the subtle fusion of electronica and acoustic elements and belongs right up there with Mychael Danna's Bounce as scores which out-Newman even Thomas Newman.

Rating: 7/10

Buy K-Pax by Edward Shearmur at Amazon.com
 

   

Rush Hour 2 by Lalo Schifrin

Running Time: 52:05

 

 

 Audio Clips
Available at Amazon.com

Rush Hour 2 by Lalo Schifrin
Impressions by Christopher Coleman

Music Composed and Conducted by Lalo Schifrin
Produced by Lalo Schifrin
Orchestrated by Lalo Schifrin and Ira Hearshen
Performed by The Hollywood Studio Symphony

Released by Varese Sarabande - August 2001

Reprising his role from Rush Hour, Schifrin returns as Rush Hour 2's score composer. Rush Hour 2 has been hailed as one of the funniest movies of 2001.  Evenso, Lalo Schifrin delivers some serious music - seriously good.   The score breaks down into three basic types of music:  dramatic orchestral, oriental, jazz/big-band.  Surprisingly, while filled with hilarity, the Rush Hour 2 soundtrack, as released by Varese Sarabande, is devoid of any predictable comedic pieces.  Instead a much more serious tone is set by the first few tracks.

A jazz/big-band interlude comprises the middle of the soundtrack (7-10).  Actually, Isabella (6) begins the transition with a beautiful and soft piece.  Lil Darlin (7) and Shiny Stockings (8) are not composed by Lalo Schifrin, but Nevada Mood (9) shows that Schifrin still has the magic-jazzy-touch.  The Cosmo is Las Vegas (10) serves as another transitional track as it contains all three, main elements: a little oriental, a little big-band, and a little dramatic.  It's an odd piece, but it works as it leads to the return to some classic Schifrin intensity.

Returning to the dramatic and ominous feel of the opening track, the CD closes with three climactic pieces: Like Father, Like Son (11), which flirts with a little dissonance, The Sword and the Spear (12), and the finale, The Dragon and the Treasure (13).

Rush Hour 2 may provide a bigger dose of serious-music than many might anticipate, but it is a welcome surprise.  In a day when so much film music seems to run together, Lalo Schifrin is always able to lift an eyebrow or two.  Following the components of the film, the orchestral, oriental, and big-band all have their place.  The one negative that should be pointed out is the abrupt ending to the CD.  The feeling of resolution that end credit tracks, even pop-vocal one's, provide is just not there and the listener is left a with a bit of a cliffhanger ending.  Be that as it may, a quick reshuffling of the tracks can remedy that.

Rating: 7/10

Buy Rush Hour 2 by Lalo Schifirin at Amazon.com
 

   

 

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