John Williams' first film score to capture the imagination of the public, and the first hit movie score of the 1970s not to involve a love theme (à la Love Story), Jaws has been on CD for more than a decade, but this is the first release that really does it justice. The centerpiece of the music is the bump-bump-bump-bump theme associated with the movements (usually unseen) of the shark, which became so well known that it was used as an essential part of various comedy sketches in a multitude of media at the time (Williams himself quoted it comically in his scoring for Steven Spielberg's 1941). It does reappear in numerous forms (many of them veiled) throughout the score, along with a handful of additional memorable musical phrases associated with Williams' score, many involving the hunt for the shark. The anniversary edition of the score not only features the familiar portions of the original album, which didn't amount to 40 minutes of music, but 15 minutes or more of Williams' score from the actual film, and also music that was written and recorded for the movie but dropped from it. Little is totally unfamiliar, but the 24-bit remastering off of the original tapes adds fresh luster to the recording and the music. It's doubly interesting, hearing the music uncut and remastered, to realize anew just how many of the effects that turn up at key points in this score Williams reused in his music for Close Encounters of the Third Kind and other scores of his. This was not only where Williams' career as a superstar soundtrack composer began but also where he first started using the musical attributes that would identify that phase of his career.
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder