Randy Brecker's debut album features the trumpeter leading two distinct all-star small groups, each with younger brother Michael (who was only 19 when this was recorded) on tenor sax, Larry Coryell on guitar, and Hal Galper on piano. The tunes alternate between jazz-rock (a style the Brecker Brothers were later to successfully exploit) and modern mainstream jazz. There are the customary fades, popular at the time, and a light, though constant, beat throughout that makes the music both accessible and even danceable, an impressive feat considering that virtually all the tunes are originals. The Brecker Brothers exhibit a command of their horns and a maturity that was to serve them well for many years. The recording has weathered the years well, in part because even the fusion pieces never lose their focus, nor do they compromise artistry for popular fads.
Duncan Mackay is a British composer, singer, arranger, and keyboard player who has recorded three solo albums. On this, his second solo album, has moved slightly away from the Keith Emerson imitations that permeated his first album. Slightly, because the Emerson sound still appears. On the first track, Witches, a somewhat Spanish sounding symphonic proc piece, Mackay plays Emerson-like riffs on a honky-tonk tack piano, similar in sound to keith's in Benny The Bouncer. Acousic piano appears throughout the album, with Mackay providing obvious Emerson-influenced sounds…
A superbly atmospheric John Barry score effectively conveyed the mood of swinging London for this 1965 film by Richard Lester. Usually playing around with variations of the haunting main theme, Barry used vivacious horns, melancholic strings, and above all a groovy jazz organ (played by Alan Haven). A couple of the tracks don't work well in isolation: the vaudevillian "Something's Up!," and the vocal version of the main theme (not used in the film) by mediocre singer Johnny De Little. But overall, it's got a consistently captivating groove, rating as one of Barry's best scores.
Composer Gabriel Yared crafts a romantic, emotional backdrop with his score for 1999's Message In a Bottle. The beauty and problems of love are expressed through pieces like Sail With Me Tonight and Last Letter, all richly emotional and masterfully performed.
There’s nothing disastrous about Daniel Pemberton’s fine score. Pemberton’s star has been on the rise for a few years now and it was 2015 that turned out to be his real breakthrough year, with his very impressive (and very different) scores for The Man from UNCLE and Steve Jobs. There’s a bit of the effortless cool of the former heard in Gold but by and large this is another very different affair, a fun action/adventure score that stays refreshingly free of the turgid sounds that tend to dog these things these days.