The Score OST
VARÈSE SDARABANDE VSD-6267 [38:37]
Here is a film with a title designed to make
life awkward for the soundtrack reviewer. I'll leave the jokes
to others and just mention that The Score is a well received
new hit thriller starring Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Angela
Bassett and Marlon Brandon, and is directed by Frank Oz, better
known for his work with the Muppets, directing a string of successful
light comedies and providing the voice of Yoda in the Star
Initial plays of the score to The Score
suggest a classy orchestral jazz work which is prone to repetition.
It is a repetitive score, dominated in many instances by a driving
descending six note theme and propulsive rhythm. However, there
is also a lot of atmosphere, some truly superb playing and various
riveting and thrilling variations on the limited core material.
Charnett Moffett's double bass anchors the music with a real sense
of unease, of momentum, of a shark-like musical world which will
die if it stops going forward. Over the rhythmic foundation, built
equally on the agitated shuffle of Steve Schaeffer's drums, Tim
Hagan's trumpet sings with the sort of urban intensity found in
the best of Mark Isham - whether it be his film or pure jazz work.
Meanwhile there are eloquent vibes from Dave Sammuels and sharp
guitar from celebrated modern jazzman David Torn. All of which
boils down to a fusion of some of the best modern jazz playing
bonded to tightly structured suspense writing. Track 5, "Sapperstein"
may follow track 4, "Recon" with the same basic material as introduced
in the "Main Title" but it builds to a fever pitch which surely
results in blistering on-screen suspense.
Besides the jazz soloists there is a full 65
piece orchestra, every player is named in the booklet, and some
small use of electronics. There are six percussionists, who can
be heard to full effect on the majestically dark and powerful
"The Score Begins", music of a rare dignified complexity given
the current stated on "dance-inspired" film soundtracks sweeping
the multiplexes. The album climaxes with two long cues, "Run Late",
with vibes adding to the urgency before the rich brass kicks in,
and the seven minute "Suspended", an exceptional suspense-action
set-piece so compelling it makes one wonder if this isn't really
the soundtrack to Brian DePlama's return to top thriller form.
If you like film music and you like jazz from
the 1950's onwards chances are you are going to find this a very
rewarding album. This is not typical contemporary thriller music,
but many cuts above. It may take a few plays to really come to
appreciate, but this high calibre scoring filled with the fatalistic
foreboding and inevitability which makes the best thrillers so
compelling. After an album like this, The Score had better
be one hell of a movie. It may well be Howard Shore's most gripping
disc since The Silence of the Lambs, and bodes very well
indeed for the forthcoming The Lord of the Rings. Play
very, very loud.
Gary S. Dalkin