DAVE GRUSIN — The Fabulous Baker Boys: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (review)

DAVE GRUSIN — The Fabulous Baker Boys: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album cover Album · 1989 · Jazz Related Soundtracks Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Matti P
The American pianist, composer and band leader Dave Grusin (b. 1934, still alive!) was highly active in the field of film music. The movies I'm familiar with include e.g. Pollack's "Three Days of the Condor" (1975), Warren Beatty's "Heaven Can Wait" (1978), Oscar-magnet "On Golden Pond" (1981), the gender comedy "Tootsie" (1982), and - perhaps my favourite film of these - "The Fabulous Baker Boys" (1989), a musical drama with romantic undertones, starring real life brothers Beau and Jeff Bridges as a jazz piano duo of brothers, and Michelle Pfeiffer as a singer joining them.

The most memorable musical moments in the film are definitely those where Pfeiffer performs with the Baker brothers: 'Makin' Whoopee' and 'My Funny Valentine'. They are the highlights of the soundtrack as well. Pfeiffer's vocal abilities were surprisingly good. Grusin's original soundtrack music is fairly enjoyable too, although some of it hasn't aged so well. The core combo - featuring e.g. Grusin on keyboards, guitarist Lee Ritenour, a tenor saxophone and a trumpet - is often accompanied by strings. Occasionally the arrangements lean towards big band stuff.

'Main Title (Jack's Theme)' is a nice, groovy and elegantly arranged jazz piece. 'Welcome to the Road' is among the most eighties sounding tracks. The drumming is too loud in the mix and synths sound rather thin. 'Suzie and Jack' is a pleasant, slow-tempo romantic piece. Even more beautiful is the melancholic and moody ballad 'The Moment of Truth'.

The album also contains Grusin's arrangement of 'Lullaby of Birdland, and 'Moonglow' performed in 1936 by the Benny Goodman Quartet. The album is a bit uneven to listen to, and sometimes the original music is terribly 80's, but the highlights justify sympathetic three stars.
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