By Charlie Brigden
Title: Elmer Bernstein: The Wild Side
Composer: Elmer Bernstein
The Album: Robert Townson at Varese Sarabande gets a bunch of his chums together to perform the jazzier of Bernstein’s film music. Starting off, naturally, with The Man With The Golden Arm, the Big Band de Canarias (from Tenerife) take a wild walk through nearly an hour’s worth of material, showcasing the exceptional talent Bernstein had for composing. The cuts are well-picked; The Rat Race, Devil In A Blue Dress, and Johnny Staccato are greats from Bernstein’s catalogue, and even odder choices such as Ghostbusters and The Age of Innocence are pulled off with aplomb.
Distinguishing Features: The impeccable performance, especially from featured artists Esther Ovejero (vocals), Kike Perdomo (sax), and Sara Andon (flute). Andon’s flute in particular is incredible, adding a brilliant swing to the Ghostbusters theme, while Ovejero’s vocals on The Silencers have a seductive yet dangerous feel, one of the best Bond themes there never was.
Final Thoughts: This record is so much fun. Outside of Golden Arm, Bernstein’s jazz scores don’t generally get the kind of attention his scores for The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape do, so it’s wonderful to see these tunes get such a great airing. Fantastic.
Elmer Bernstein: The Wild Side is out now from Varese Sarabande