Thursday, June 22, 2006

Jazz Tracking

For those who enjoyed Andy Garcia’s The Lost City, there is good news. The soundtrack is now scheduled to drop on August 15th, from Univision Music Group. Music plays an integral role in the film. It is the soul of the Cuban people, and to dominate them, Castro must crush that spirit. The track listing is not yet available, but it should collect original music composed by Garcia, as well as classic tracks from a wide variety of Cuban music heard in the film. If you haven't seen it yet, don't despair. Magnolia will unspool it in more cities in the coming weeks.

Indeed, several films recently have been using instrumental jazz in their soundtracks to excellent effect. Bruce Woods’ The Door features an excellent soundtrack composed and improvised by Brian Citro and Charles Gorczynski, available at retailers with a strong commitment to independent music, or online here. Also, Three Days of Rain has a soundtrack CD out that also stands up well apart from the film. As it has to, since the film evidently played briefly at the Quad in New York (and who knows where else) late last year as part of a very limited run, with no DVD release announced, as of this time. The music at least is great. Bob Belden’s score brings to mind the lush orchestrations Gil Evans penned for Miles Davis. With guest soloists like Jason Moran and Joe Lovano, Three Days shows how effective instrumental jazz can be as soundtrack music.

Jazz has long had an uneasy relationship with film. However, jazz instrumentalists are particularly effective at expressing emotional ideas and conveying stories without words. Such collaboration can greatly strengthen the emotional impact of a film. The Lost City is a perfect example, where jazz expresses the human need for freedom, even in the face of the brutality and oppression of Fidel and Che.