Dave Grusin

3 Days of the Condor

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In the 1970s, when prominent movie stars started to become the driving forces behind films, the jazz musician Dave Grusin was a favorite choice for film composer by several above-the-title male actors, notably Robert Redford, Paul Newman, and Warren Beatty. Redford starred in director Sydney Pollack's spy thriller 3 Days of the Condor, and Grusin got the scoring nod. The film was set in the New York City of the present day, the present day being 1975, and Grusin turned in music imbued with familiar elements of jazz fusion and R&B-funk. His "Condor! (Theme From 3 Days of the Condor)" could have been the instrumental track for a Steely Dan song of the time, and "Yellow Panic" was one of several tracks to employ wah-wah guitar à la Shaft. "Yeah! Make it funky," declared Jim Gilstrap at the outset of "I've Got You Where I Want You," a funk workout. The music only occasionally, with its use of suspended strings, betrayed the potboiler plot (timely as it seemed in the immediate post-Watergate days) in which a government conspiracy theme was overlaid on a typical Hollywood man-alone-against-the-universe story. Like many movies meant to catch the popular zeitgeist, 3 Days of the Condor quickly began to seem dated, and its music does, too. Still, it would have been nice, when DRG licensed the soundtrack for a CD reissue 29 years on, if the label could have dug up the names of the jazz musicians who played on it. But then, it would have been nice if the initial Capitol Records release had listed them back in '75, too.

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