This compilation covers a broad array of soundtracks by Lalo Schifrin, a talented composer who started as a jazz musician and segued into a prolific score-composing career during the '60s. Though this collection isn't definitive, it succeeds by making solid choices from the soundtracks it draws from. In the process, it shows off the diversity of Schifrin's soundtrack work. As soundtrack fans might expect, The Reel Lalo Schifrin features plenty of this composer's jazz-oriented work; highlights in this vein include the frantic horn-driven bop of "The Joint" from Once a Thief and the silky, string-sweetened big band showcase "Melba" from The Cincinnati Kid. However, other cuts prove that Lalo Schifrin's talent extends to other genres beyond jazz: cuts from The Eagle Has Landed and The Four Musketeers show a gift for writing thrilling, straightforward orchestral music, and music from Cool Hand Luke and Kelly's Heroes shows a gift for tailoring the style of country music to fit the needs of a film score. There is also a nod toward Schifrin's Brazilian heritage in Latin-flavored cuts like "Roulette Rhumba" from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and "Hotel Nacionale" from Voyage of the Damned. On the downside, The Reel Lalo Schifrin fails to be a definitive overview of his soundtrack work because it ignores career high-points like Bullitt and Enter the Dragon (this is probably due to licensing issues). However, the album overcomes these omissions because the picks the compilers have made are well-chosen and programmed in a manner that makes the album a consistent listen from start to finish. The album also benefits from a nice set of track-by-track liner notes that discuss the material from a soundtrack fan's point of view. All in all, The Reel Lalo Schifrin is a solid collection of highlights from the titular composer's career and a fine starting point for anyone interested in exploring Lalo Schifrin's lengthy soundtrack career.
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AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco