Marc Shaiman reunites with actor/director Billy Crystal for the HBO-produced baseball docudrama 61, a project that proves particularly well-suited to the composer's dewy-eyed sentimentality. Shaiman captures in full the apple-pie glory of the sport when its position as America's Favorite Pastime was unassailable, creating a series of rousing themes rooted in nostalgia and innocence. Shaiman also seizes upon baseball's implicit poetry and patriotism, writing dutifully anthemic cues richly appointed in flourishes of brass -- he even indulges his quirkier impulses with a handful of woozy, jazz inspired melodies like "Mickey's Drunk" and "Mickey and Whitey Dance." It's a score that certainly functions more successfully in tandem with Crystal's film, but it's still one of Shaiman's most accomplished and far-reaching efforts regardless of context.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny
|61*, television score|