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Sunday, February 24, 2008

LALO SCHIFRIN : Jaws (1976)

Roy Scheider
R.I.P. 1932 - 2008

"With his soft, hurt eyes, rugged features and broken nose, Roy Scheider had the look of a trammelled hero. A star of some of the most admired thrillers of the 1970s, he usually played heroic characters beset by obstacles — their partners, their commanders or their vices. He will be most remembered for Jaws — one of the few films in which his character is still alive when the end credits roll. His greatest regret, however, was that he never returned to the stage to play the classical hero roles that were his calling for 15 years.

"In 2004, Scheider was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. In June 2005, he underwent a bone marrow transplant to treat the cancer which was classified as being in partial remission. Scheider died on February 10, 2008 in Little Rock, Arkansas, at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Hospital. He was 75 years old. Though a cause of death was not immediately released, Scheider's wife attributed her husband's death to complications from a staph infection."
In tribute to Scheider, I'm posting a funky version of the theme to the movie "Jaws". It was arranged and conducted by Lalo Schifrin (who has done hundreds of scores for films anyway!). This was his first album for the great CTI jazz label, so of course it has a GREAT lineup (including Hubert Laws! He was featured in a recent post).

: Lalo Schifrin :

Song : "Jaws" Written by John Williams
From the LP "BLACK WIDOW" (CTI) 1976

Lalo Schifrin : keyboards
Jon Faddis : trumpet
Joe Farrell : alto sax
Pepper Adams : baritone sax
John Tropea : guitar
Anthony Jackson : bass
Andy Newmark : drums
Don Alias : percusion
Hubert Laws : flute solo

Get it here : Jaws

Friday, February 15, 2008

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR - Gethsemane (I Only Wanted To Say) (1973)

So the stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar is touring yet again, but this time it has TWO bonuses! One is the inclusion of LIVING COLOUR frontman Corey Glover as Judas. The second is Ted Neeley, reprising his role of Jesus. Neeley was one of the most popular actors in this role, mainly because he was Jesus in the film-version.

This song from the film is in the second half, where our Jesus "vents his feelings about his imminent death". It's a good display of his vocal range (you can hear him hitting those high notes, like Ian Gillan did a few years before him). And there is a surprisingly funky bass line throughout.

Here is our slightly cock-eyed hero in 1973. Where you lookin', Ted?

Song : "Gethsamane (I Only Wanted To Say)"
From the LP "JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" (MCA) 1973

Link in title.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

THREE DOG NIGHT : Shambala (1973)

And now for some 70's pop! Three Dog Night had a number of hit singles early in the decade, mainly due to their three-vocal attack. Pop? Yes. Cheesy? Often. But they had a hint of soul, and some of their songs still stuck in your head like a tumour.
Here's a blurb from allmusic:
The word "Shambala" is derived from the Buddhist "Shambhala," which is a revelation or a goal of the teachings to acknowledge humanity's desire and aspirations to create a society that will enable the inhabitants to "express the dignity of human existence and to lead meaningful lives within a flourishing culture," according to the Shambhala Meditation Centers. Much of that attitude is reflected in the pastoral and amiable "Everyone is helpful, everyone is kind/On the road to Shambala/Everyone is lucky, everyone is kind/On the road to Shambala." Daniel Moore's lyrics also carry a bit of psychedelic imagery in the lines "I can tell my sister [brother] by the flowers in her [his] eyes/On the road to Shambala." There is a definite spiritual quality suggesting an awakening or pilgrimage during the prominent chorus "How does your light shine/On the road to Shambala," suggesting the rhetorical inquiry, "Is one's life in order?" Likewise, the three-part vocal harmonies relate a gospel flavor, especially on the closing repetitive chorus. The tune was extracted as a single from 1973's "Cyan" album and did exceptionally well, peaking at number three in June of that year. Hardcore Three Dog Night enthusiasts should note an extended and significantly remixed version of "Shambala" was included on the original motion picture soundtrack to the film Drowning Mona (1990). Other artists to have recorded the title are B.W. Stevenson, Rockapella, New Seekers, and Solomon Burke. It has also appeared on a recent episode of "Lost".

Song : "Shambala"
From the LP "CYAN" (Dunhill) Oct. 1973

Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron, Corry Wells : vocals
Mike Allsup : guitar
Jimmy Greenspoon : keyboard
Gordon DeWitte : organ
Jack Ryland : bass
Floyd Sneed : drums

Get it here : Shambala

Sunday, February 03, 2008

HUBERT LAWS : How Long Will It Be? (1970)

To change it up a bit, here's a groovy track from jazz flautist Hubert Laws. He is primarily known for taking classical pieces and putting them into a jazz context (with flute being the lead instrument), but he can create some funky music as well. This song is written by the man himself, and features a great lineup of musicians (see below). An early release on the great CTI label.

Song : "How Long Will It Be?"
From the LP "CRYING SONG" (CTI) 1970
-recorded Sep. 24, 1969

Hubert Laws - flute
Bob James - electric piano, organ
George Benson - guitar
Ron Carter - bass
Grady Tate - drums

Get it here :
How Long Will It Be?