Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
Halloween is just around the corner, a holiday with ever-growing popularity. This requires appropriate music, and we’ve got it to get you in the mood, so let’s get started.
This soundtrack is from a movie that had no monsters, masks, or slashers. But it did feature a cruel, vicious, evil villain.
Jon Burlingame wrote on the website of The Film Music Society:
Rarely have six basses, eight celli, four trombones and a tuba held more power over listeners. Especially in a movie theater.
John Williams’ score for Jaws ranks as some of the most terrifying music ever written for the cinema (and, according to a 2005 survey by the American Film Institute, among the top 10 most memorable scores in movie history).
The music of Jaws was as responsible as filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s imagery for scaring people out of the water in the summer of 1975. Its sheer intensity and visceral power helped to make the film a global phenomenon; Spielberg compared it to Bernard Herrmann’s equally frightening, indelible music for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.
“Jaws” won an Oscar for best original music score.
BTW, the last model of Bruce, the movie’s fake shark, will have a space in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that opens in Los Angeles next year.
Before we move on…
Time to get out of the water.
Medeski Martin & Wood is an American avant-jazz-funk band formed in 1991, consisting of John Medeski on keyboards and piano, Billy Martin on drums and percussion, and Chris Wood on double bass and bass guitar. In 1996 the group recorded “Shack-Man” in a plywood shack surrounded by mango trees and plumerias on Hawaii’s Big Island. This album track is entitled “Dracula.”
There was no musical soundtrack in Bela Lugosi’s 1931 film “Dracula.” The movie-makers thought that the new concept of using music would distract the audience and confuse them, not knowing why the music was there in the first place.
Our next artist provides an interesting story.
Six-time Grammy Award-nominee Nnenna Freelon toured with Ray Charles, Ellis Marsalis, Al Jarreau, George Benson, and many others. She had a featured song on the hit TV show Mad Men. That was followed by a tour with legendary guitarist Earl Klugh in 2011 and 2012 brought her first collaboration with legendary pianist Ramsey Lewis.
In November 2011, The White House asked her to headline the Asia Pacific Economic Summit, for 300 Presidents, Premiers and Heads of State from around the world.
Freelon was exposed to music as a youngster singing in the church and her parents playing Count Basie records.
Her take on a Stevie Wonder classic might even be spookier.
In 1979 Nnenna married architect Phillip Freelon and raised three children before deciding to be become a jazz singer. Phillip designed the Smithsonian Institution’s in Washington that opened in September of 2016. He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, in March 2016, and died in July of this year at the age of 66.
Who does the very best Halloween music? That’s quite subjective but the answer just could be the Midnight Syndicate. From their website:
“For almost two decades, composers Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka have been known as Midnight Syndicate, creating symphonic soundtracks to imaginary films that facilitate a transcendental and adventurous escape into the secret dimensions of the mind’s eye. To many of their fans, they are Gothic music pioneers brewing a signature blend of orchestral horror music and movie-style sound effects. To others, they remain the first ‘haunted house band’ that forever changed the Halloween music genre and became a staple of the October holiday season.
Every weekend in September and October the music of Midnight Syndicate is piped throughout Cedar Point, a 364-acre amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend.
Fred Bronson wrote the following in The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, Billboard, 1988:
“He needed a song to play when they said, ‘Let’s hear Edgar Winter, bring him out here,'” remembers Rick Derringer. “So he wrote this song called ‘The Double Drum Solo,’ just for a working name, and every night when he came out he’d bring down the house. At the end of the song he’d get to play sax, he’d get to play keyboards, he’d get to play drums — he’d get to play everything.”
“When it came time for Edgar to do his first band album, They Only Come Out at Night, he wanted to include that instrumental in the album,” Rick explains. “Bill Szymczyk and I — I was the producer and he was the engineer — were really looking forward to doing that song. To us, we’re musicians, the rest of the album was a little more predictable. The one thing that seemed like it was going to be fun was the instrumental. At one point in the project Edgar started to be nervous. ‘Oh, I don’t know, it’s a little too crazy. Is this gonna be too jazzy, to out of context for the rest of the album?’ All of us voiced our opinions immediately, saying, ‘It’s fantastic, it’s gotta be on the record.’ We went ahead and finished it; we did some editing to shorten it, as it was too long in the live form.”
Edgar Winter is an albino. As a youngster he couldn’t see well enough to play sports. He can’t read music. Keep that in mind.
“I believe there are two golden eras in music: the forties and fifties for big band jazz and swing, and the sixties and seventies for rock. I really think they’re unparalleled eras in music. And the reason they were so important is because they really were all about making great music, over just making music that sells.”