Born a late “Baby Boomer,” television and film were responsible for imprinting music on my childhood psyche more than any other source. Through those mediums l was introduced to most of the major musical styles as interpreted, distilled, and idealized by Hollywood. Even at an early age, l was able to appreciate the tremendous power music has in evoking emotions in a film, and by early adolescence, l began to take note of the names of the composers who were adept at this art form.
Jerry Goldsmith is considered to be one of the most daring and innovative composers in film history. In his five-decade career he scored more than 200 films and TV shows, constantly varying his style from orchestral to jazz, to ethnic, even to electronic; often employing exotic instruments or recorded sounds to create unique musical atmospheres appropriate to the story and setting of the film. Most of all, Goldsmith possessed the gift to compose beautiful, emotionally-charged melodies, two of which are the subjects of this project:
Free as the Wind (4:36) is a melancholy theme in 3/4 time, composed for the 1973 motion picture, “Papillion.” The lyrics were written by Hal Shaper. My arrangement was inspired by the mid-1960s jazz scores of composer John Barry, and the sounds of his trumpet player, Derek Watkins.
And We Were Lovers (4:14) is an elegant, romantic, and exotic piece from the 1966 epic movie, “The Sand Pebbles”. Leslie Bricusse wrote the lyrics for the tune, which became a pop hit of the sixties, and was recorded by several artists. I gave it a soft, Latin treatment, highlighted by Gilbert’s smooth flugelhorn solo.
To undertake this project required musicians with the instinct and sensibilities to produce the specific sound l envisioned: Trumpet virtuoso Gilbert Castellanos has established himself as a major force in the international jazz scene, performing and recording with an impressive list of jazz legends. He truly understands jazz of all styles and eras, and is matchless at creating the particular mood required of a project. The first time l heard Fran Hartshorn I was struck by the warmth, honesty, and range of emotion in her voice. She not only captures, but celebrates the essence of the great female ballad singers of the twentieth century. Fran is a perfectionist who puts her whole heart into a song. Rob Thorsen is a busy man. With a reputation for keeping great time and playing with soul and feel, Rob has been one of the most called-upon bass players in San Diego for over twenty years. He is an energetic, tireless worker in the studio. When l saw Ed Kornhauser at a jazz jam some years ago, l was stunned that so young a pianist could have such a mature and sensitive musical sense. His style pays homage to the classic eras of jazz and blues, while remaining individual with his personal brand of joy and humor. Kirk Hoffman has been providing San Diego jazz musicians with his steady and hip groove for over forty years. He is not only a great drummer, but also an arranger, educator, band leader, and music historian. He is generous with his time and energy, and working with him is a genuine pleasure.