Dave Grusin

The Very Best of Dave Grusin

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Except for the unfortunate oversight of any of the spectacular material from Grusin's soundtrack to The Fabulous Baker Boys, this 11-track compilation is a strong addition to GRP's new collector's series featuring many of its classic artists. Grusin, of course, has the unique distinction of having owned the label and has been part of its establishment as a modern jazz powerhouse. The songs cover the 20-year period from 1977 through 1997, from the time just before he and Larry Rosen formed the company through Grusin's lush homage to chief influence Henry Mancini (represented here by the marching beat and brassy humor of "Baby Elephant Walk" and the boogie-woogie twist on "The Peter Gunn Theme"). When Grusin and Rosen compiled and sequenced this collection, they were more interested in finding outstanding representative tracks than simply spotlighting Grusin's best compositions. That's somewhat curious, since Grusin is legendary as both a jazz and film composer, but two of his best-received projects were The Gershwin Connection and Homage to Duke, so the Gershwin boys and Ellington's songs are an essential part of the mix. Grusin-written classics include the mystical and exotic synth exercise "Bossa Baroque" and the still spry "Early A.M. Attitude" from Harlequin, his Grammy-winning collaboration with Lee Ritenour.

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