Michel Legrand

Eva [Original Soundtrack]

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Joseph Losey's 1962 film Eva is not well known to either fans of the director, its biggest star (Jeanne Moreau), or its soundtrack composer, Michel Legrand. In part that's because 50 minutes were cut, against Losey's original intentions, before the film was released. It would be a shame for soundtrack or Legrand fans to pass this over due to unfamiliarity, however, as much of this 33-minute disc is quite good, and not always in the styles for which he's most known. The best sections go for a sinister, slightly dissonant cool jazz feel, and would actually stand up fairly well under their own terms in a straight jazz release. Losey's original idea was to have Miles Davis and Gil Evans do the score, and while Legrand isn't nearly as well regarded by serious jazz fans as Davis and Evans are, it's not heresy to suggest he did the pair proud, if he was aiming for a similar mood to what Davis and Evans might have devised. The brooding cool jazz is sometimes embellished by clangorous washes of sound that fit well with the film's themes of mental dissipation and disturbance, as exemplified by a decadent, fraudulent lead character who goes down the tubes in pursuit of a cold-hearted prostitute. As effective changes of mood, there's also a boisterous big band-meets-cool romp ("The Wedding"), a couple vintage Billie Holiday performances ("Willow Weep for Me" and "Loveless Love") in which Legrand had no involvement, and an absolutely creepy, bashing vocal jazz lament by Tony Middleton, "Adam and Eve." If the information is available, however, it's unfortunate that there's nothing in the credits to this CD to indicate who played what on the recordings made specifically for the soundtrack.

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