Dave Grusin

An Evening with Dave Grusin

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An Evening with Dave Grusin is essentially the soundtrack to the Blu-Ray DVD product, and an app for the iPad, both of which have loads more features. The composer, arranger, and pianist conducts the 75-piece Henry Mancini Orchestra in a live program of his own music -- tunes written for cinema -- as well as the works of composers Gershwin, Bernstein, and Mancini. The show was co-produced by Grusin's longstanding business associate and collaborator Larry Rosen and Phil Ramone. The personnel includes guest appearances by vocalists Patti Austin, Jon Secada, and Monica Mancini, and instrumentalists Gary Burton, Arturo Sandoval, Nestor Torres, and Sammy Figueroa. Ultimately it's the music that matters and Grusin is in fine form, playing piano and conducting this orchestra. A dramatic version of his "Fratelli Chase" (from the score of the film Goonies) opens the set and is quickly followed by a romantic, nostalgic version of the theme from On Golden Pond, juxtaposed quite jarringly in a medley with his "New Hampshite Hornpipe." Austin appears on "Makin' Whoopee" (which he didn't write but which appeared in The Fabulous Baker Boys, a film he scored. The program moves on with the tribute section of the evening as Grusin and orchestra perform a medley from Gershwin's Porgy & Bess, followed by a selection of Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim tunes from West Side Story. Burton's vibes appear on "Cool," and Secada and Austin duet on "Somewhere." Somewhere throws a curve here conducting and playing piano in the lengthy, near-12-minute "Suite" from the film The Milagro Beanfield War, before returning to West Side Story with "I Feel Pretty," containing a lovely flute solo by Torres. Mancini gets the final tribute with Monica singing a delightful "Moon River"; Burton returns to solo on the "Peter Gunn Theme." The entire show closes on an uptempo note with "Memphis Stomp," from the Grusin-scored film, The Firm. Fans of the artist will take great delight in the program, which stands on its own apart form the Blu-Ray and iPad app. Just over an hour in length, it is near perfectly sequenced, and filled with not only nostalgia but evidence of Grusin's musical sophistication, as well as his accessibility and lasting appeal.

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