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Jazz Greats Benny Carter, Shelly Manne, Jimmy Rowles, Red Mitchell Featured On “Too Late Blues”

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Too Late Blues OSTBefore pioneering cinéma vérité techniques on groundbreaking films like Faces and Husbands, John Cassavetes was signed to direct his first major-studio motion picture with 1962’s Too Late Blues.  Handed the assignment on the strength of his first film, Shadows, Cassavetes was a brave choice to direct the story of jazz musician “Ghost” Wakefield and his struggle to stay true to himself while pursuing fame and romance.  This raw and revealing story starred Bobby Darin, no stranger to the darker side of the music business himself.  And the score was provided by David Raksin (Laura), who not only provided the traditional score, but also wrote the jazz tunes to be played by the crème of the crop of the West Coast jazz scene.  Now, the world premiere of the complete score to Too Late Blues has been announced by Kritzerland, featuring the contributions of such world-class players as Benny Carter, Shelly Manne, Jimmy Rowles, Red Mitchell and Milt Bernhart.

A rare few films have successfully brought jazz scores to Hollywood, but Kritzerland’s new release aims to restore the all-too-little-known Too Late Blues to the position of prominence it deserves among jazz-flecked films and scores like Anatomy of a Murder and Paris Blues (both by Duke Ellington), A Man Called Adam (Benny Carter), The Man with the Golden Arm (Elmer Bernstein), Alfie (Sonny Rollins) and television’s Peter Gunn (Henry Mancini).

As Kritzerland’s Bruce Kimmel points out, “There is a lot of jazz in Too Late Blues.  The easy way out would have been to do standards, but Raksin wrote all original music for the film, even for the source cues.  And what music it is – Raksin at his best, and Raksin at his best is as good as it gets.”  Kimmel also recognizes the contribution of trumpeter Uan Rasey, who worked his magic on films from Singin’ in the Rain to Chinatown.  The producer continues, “Raksin wrote one of his most exquisite and inspired themes for the film, which he titled ‘A Song After Sundown.’  It’s heard in jazz guises, within the dramatic score, and even as a vocalese performed by Stella Stevens’ character.  It’s a haunting, melancholy theme filled with sadness and yearning – classic Raksin, as are the jazz cues and the dramatic score.  It’s all of a piece – absolute perfection in the picture and wonderful to listen to outside the film as well.”

After the jump, we have more details on this lost jazz classic, as well as pre-order links!

For the world premiere release of Raksin’s Too Late Blues, Kritzerland had access to the scoring session masters and the original prerecords done for the “live” playing in the film.  The latter tracks were all recorded in one-track mono, while the score cues and some of the source cues were recorded in three-track stereo.  Rather than adhering to strict film order, the album has been sequenced as a listening experience; the film sequence would have given an hour of the jazz cues before the first dramatic score cue.  Kritzerland has included all the music written for the film – first the film cues, and then a bonus section filled with alternates and various other bonus tracks.

Too Late Blues is limited to 1,000 copies only and retails for $19.98, plus shipping.  The album is due to ship the final week of June, but preorders placed directly via Kritzerland usually ship one to five weeks early (with an average of four weeks early).  You can order Too Late Blues at the link below!

David Raksin, Too Late Blues: Music from the Motion Picture (Kritzerland, 2013)

  1. Seal One Part 1 – Sax Raises  Its Ugly Head
  2. Theme from Too Late Blues (A Song After Sundown)
  3. The Rim Shot Heard ’Round the World
  4. Mother Time (Juke Box)
  5. Something Like Noodles/Something Like Bulio/Something Like That
  6. Heel and Toe – Get Wildroot Hair Oil, Charlie
  7. Bass Canard (Short Version)
  8. Look Inward, Angel
  9. Danzon
  10. A Song After Sundown
  11. Sambalero
  12. Recording Studio Part 2 – A Song After Sundown
  13. Wither Thou, Ghost!
  14. Blues for Tomorrow
  15. Ulysses in Swanktown
  16. Like Lasagna
  17. Ghost Blows Test
  18. Benny Splits While Jimmy Rowles
  19. Ciudad de Mexico
  20. Wife’s Other John
  21. Finale – The Rim Shot Heard ’Round the World
  22. Paramount Seal and Tie-In (Alternate Version)
  23. Danzon
  24. Ciudad de Mexico
  25. Some Other Time
  26. Benny Splits While Jimmy Rowles (Short Version)
  27. Look Inward, Angel (Combo)
  28. Look Inward, Angel (Combo – Long Version)
  29. The Rim Shot Heard ’Round the World (Alternate Version)
  30. Sambalero
  31. Bass Canard (Long Version)
  32. Wife’s Other John (Extended Version)

Tracks 23-33 are bonus tracks
All tracks previously unreleased.

Written by Joe Marchese

May 15, 2013 at 13:23

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