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 Posted:   Feb 11, 2019 - 5:19 PM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

In honor of Lalo Schifrin getting an oscar I'm going to list my 10 favorite Schifrin albums, one at a time. The amazing thing is that another Schifrin aficionado would look at my list and wonder why I left off his/her ten favorite albums. Lalo is amazing. In no particular order I start with the album that put Schifrin on the map in the United States: Dizzy Gillespie's Gillespiana (Verve). So, Schifrin is in his mid-twenties, leading a big band in Buenos Aires in 1956 when Dizzy Gillespie comes to Argentina and hears the band. He asks who wrote the carts. He invites Schifrin to the U.S. Four years later, Gillespie debuts his new piano player and arranger. Schifrin composes and arranges a fully-formed masterpiece of big band writing for Gillespie: the five-part suite Gillespiana, which each movement representing some aspect of Gillespie's musical life, from be-bop to blues to afro-cuban. There is no sense of getting your feet wet about this work. Schifrin dove in, writing for Gillespie's working quintet, plus 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, three French Horns, a tuba, and three latin percussionists: NO WOODWINDS. The writing and all of the solos are brilliant. Gillespie liked it so much he performed it at Carnegie Hall and played it live with just the quintet in Europe (Malaco Records). Schifrin performed it live and recorded it for Aleph Records in the mid-nineties, featuring Jon Faddis on trumpet. While the Aleph and Malaco recordings are excellent, the original on Verve is the one to get.

#1 Dizzy Gillespie: Gillespiana (Verve)

 
 Posted:   Feb 11, 2019 - 9:22 PM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

Ummmm....

Paragraphs, dammitt!
Have a nice day smile

Long live Lalo!

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 12, 2019 - 1:55 AM   
 By:   Simon Morris   (Member)

I find that some of Lalo's purely jazz-based records can be either hit or miss. But Gillespiana is - as you say - one of his best.

The Verve recording sounds great, easily beating the more recent 'live in Cologne' version. (I find that, sometimes, the WDR Big Band are playing as if they're just going through the motions while they wait for payment of next months salary...)

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 13, 2019 - 4:42 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

I'm looking forward to following this thread. I hope Kelly's Heroes is on it, but have found down the years that my admiration for this score isn't necessarily shared by too many people.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2019 - 4:10 PM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

My second title for Schifrin Top Ten is Che! Nine years after Gillespiana, after recording and arranging a large number of jazz albums and film scores, Schifrin writes the music for one of the most negatively-reviewed films of the decade in 1969.

Tetragrammaton released the 12-cut soundtrack lp, which largely featured Cuban and Bolivian inspired pieces that may have been source cues. Where is the dramatic music? Was there any? Have any of you seen this?

In addition to the excellence of the source cues are two versions of the main theme, one for solo guitar and the main title. Schifrin built his film career on his rare ability to compose memorable themes. Like Mancini and Barry, Schifrin could really nail a picture with the right theme. The theme to Che! is my favorite, even over Mission: Impossible, Mannix, The Fox, Bullitt, and so on. Two minutes-plus of pure haunting magic, a dirge driven by a chorus of flutes. When the flutes hit that first high note of the bridge . . . well, it gets me every time. Another piece on the album is quite beautiful--"Recuerdos."

When Schifrin released Che! on his own label he cut two tracks from the lp and added several newly-recorded pieces in the same style. I'll take the lp.

1) Dizzy Gillespie: Gillespiana (Verve)
2) Che! (Tetragrammaton lp/Aleph cd)

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 15, 2019 - 6:13 AM   
 By:   Ag^Janus   (Member)

Ape Shuffle.

Onyabirri must be on holidays.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 22, 2019 - 6:25 PM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

Next on my list is Bullitt. McQueen wanted Quincy Jones, but Jones was unavailable, so Schifrin came on board. This score is revered and much commented on, so I'm not going into a lot of detail. But just a couple of thoughts. This is probably the quintessential urban detective score. The theme personifies cool, especially the softer and more muted you play it. FSM released the original album re-recording along with the film score tracks on one cd. Schifrin re-recorded the album and score tracks in the 90s for his own label. Two great albums. The FSM is essential; the Aleph is pretty damn good, too. Bullitt, from 69, came after great works like Cool Hand Luke and The Fox, and before Che! Not a bad stretch of scoring.

#1 Dizzy Gillespie: Gillespiana (Verve)
#2 Che! (Tetragrammaton lp/Aleph cd)
#3 Bullitt (FSM 68 re-record/68 original film tracks--Aleph 2000 re-record)

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2019 - 8:05 AM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

Lalo Schifrin won his 2nd Grammy for Best Original Jazz Composition for 1964's album by Paul Horn: Jazz Suite on the Mass Texts.

This album length work on RCA featured Horn on alto sax, clarinet, and flute with a rhythm section augmented by vibes, percussion, a brass section, and choir. The eight sections are at turns joyous, brutal, introspective, and even a bit scary.

Two great examples: in the opening "Kyrie" the flute glides over a brisk tempo by a tight rhythm section with added vibes and brass and then the choir joins in and the music, led by the flute and choir, just really takes off. Very moving.

In the "Credo" the voices and alto sax climb from eerie whispers to joint wailing; this could have been a cue in The Omen.

The original RCA album is great and is now available through Amazon, one of those auto-rip things. Schifrin re-recorded this work on Aleph as Jazz Mass, and while it is a very good recording, it's live with an emphasis on the improvisation. The RCA album perfectly blends the jazz with the choir; they are never too far from each other.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2019 - 8:07 AM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

Top 10 so far (no particular order):

1) Dizzy Gillespie's Gillespiana
2) Che!
3) Bullitt
4) Paul Horn's Jazz Suite on the Mass Texts

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 21, 2019 - 6:16 PM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

Next on my list is The Four Musketeers/The Eagle Has Landed/Voyage of the Damned.

While the latter two scores are good, this cd makes my list because of the wonderful suite from The Four Musketeers. There is an expanded version of this score that is costly, and my understanding is that the additional tracks are lacking in sound quality. But the 20 minutes or so that appear on this cd indicate that Schifrin was a natural for this type of film: His scores features a gorgeous love theme, some nice harpsichord work, an appropriate amount of swashbucking action music, and one of his best main themes that appears in both the opening and ending cues on the suite.

1) Gillespiana
2) Che!
3) Bullitt
4) Jazz Suite on the Mass Texts
5) The Four Musketeers

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 25, 2019 - 7:17 AM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

1) Gillespiana
2) Che!
3) Jazz Suite on the Mass Texts
4) Bullitt
5) Four Musketeers
6) The Cincinnati Kid

After scoring Rhino, Once a Thief, and Joy House, Schifrin got his first big Hollywood film when Mancini was unable to score The Cincinnati Kid. The setting in New Orleans in the 1930s gave Schifrin opportunities to take advantage of the early jazz for source music.

The main theme is incredible, and the rest of the score relies on jazz, bluegrass drama for the cock fight, chamber impressionism for the farm, and growing tension for the poker game.

FSM gave us the film tracks on Lalo Schifrin at MGM. Schifrin re-recorded the score in the 90s. My favorite is the original MGM albun, with Tommy Morgan playing the main theme on harmonica.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2019 - 5:10 PM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

#7 on my album list is Mannix.

What an album. Like Mancini did for Peter Gunn, Schifrin created a memorable, but unusual theme: a jazz waltz. Also like Peter Gunn, the rest of the Mannix album consists of newly composed themes not (or mostlt not) heard in the TV series. But what themes! Schifrin's Mannix contains one infectious tune after another--all in the jazz-pop vein of the day--at turns mysterious, intense, breezy, and bittersweet.

Schifrin did a re-record, but stick with the original. It was released on its own, and then again as part of the must-have Universal-France Schifrin box.

1) Gillespiana
2) Che!
3) Jazz Suite on the Mass Texts
4) Bullitt
5) The Four Musketeers
6) The Cincinnati Kid
7) Mannix

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 29, 2019 - 5:38 AM   
 By:   Simon Morris   (Member)

Couldn't agree more with the inclusion of Mannix. The WDR Big Band version isn't too bad, but I'd rather Lalo have worked with the Dutch Metropole Orkest for his re-recordings; I've just never really warmed to the WDR Big Band because to me they 'play' the music without actually 'feeling' it.... For Mannix, the original recording is a must.

Unfortunately I've never felt the love for his Musketeeers score (or indeed Cincinatti Kid...)

I'm guessing Kelly's Heroes isn't going to get a mention on this list big grin

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 29, 2019 - 6:22 AM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

Only a few comments, but two in support of Kelly's Heroes. We'll see. Two more selections to go.

As I said before, Lalo Schifrin is such a great composer and arranger that there are so many great albums in his career, spanning film and tv scores, jazz, pop, and even third-stream, that just listing ten barely scratches the surface. When I've finished with my top ten albums I'll probably list some albums that are also favorites.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 29, 2019 - 6:30 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

Been following this with interest since the start, villa. I was thinking of adding my own Top 10 once you've done yours. Mine will be more film score centred, coz I'm that kind of geek.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 29, 2019 - 6:34 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

I'm guessing Kelly's Heroes isn't going to get a mention on this list big grin

Well, it’s not typical Lalo! But that could actually be a reason for its inclusion. A variety of great themes, some songs, authentic-sounding source music and the best Ennio/Clint pastiche that I’ve ever come across. Really shows Lalo’s versatility.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 29, 2019 - 5:33 PM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

Hey everybody, Thanks for the responses. Thoughts on Lalo Schifrin are always welcomed.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 30, 2019 - 6:53 AM   
 By:   leagolfer   (Member)

Hey everybody, Thanks for the responses. Thoughts on Lalo Schifrin are always welcomed.

Love Dirty Harry what a great score it is abit underrated in Schifrin's career, hard to say if its the best Harry overall as I love Fielding's Enforcer too, but easily Schifrin's best Harry for sure in my top ten film work.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 30, 2019 - 9:02 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

Glad to see you included THE FOUR MUSKETEERS, villa. It's not in my Top 10, but I think it's severely and rather unjustly maligned. David Meeker, in his book "Jazz in the Movies", calls it "nondescript". To my ears it's anything but that, a worthy successor to Legrand's score for the first film. Having said that, it's difficult to evaluate on album because, like you, I have only heard the 20-min "reduction" which is shared with two lesser scores, and while that doesn't diminish my appreciation of what we have, it knocks a few stars off the "whole album experience".

Just to keep the tension almost unbearable, I should say that there is so far only one album on your list which will appear on mine. What is it? Ah! You must be patient. Clue - it's a film score.

And on that note, I shall leave you for now, rather cruelly I hope.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 30, 2019 - 9:21 AM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

As I said in my first post: Schifrin's output is vast, and my top 10 may not resemble someone else's. And your list is as valid as mine. Oh, and despite the fact that I have been listening to Schifrin since the mid-sixties, and own dozens and dozens and dozens of his albums, there are still quite a few that I've never heard. So, of course, there may be gems that won't appear on my list solely because I have not heard them. Looking forward to reading other fans' lists.

 
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