With the original Raiders of the Lost Ark, John Williams created the most revered and imitated adventure score of its generation -- when the franchise moved to television with the series The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, Williams handed the musical reins to the team of Joel McNeely and Laurence Rosenthal, and while neither composer proves content with merely rehashing what came before, Williams' shadow looms impossibly large over their efforts. The third entry in Varese Sarabande's four-volume Young Indiana Jones Chronicles retrospective continues the site-specific approach that would become the show's musical calling card, although this time the action shifts entirely to the U.S., effectively abandoning the international motifs that distinguished the first two collections. The clear highlight is McNeely's suite "Indiana Jones and the Scandal of 1920," in which the hero meets a young George Gershwin -- the narrative contrivance affords McNeely the opportunity to integrate his own melodies with perennials like "Rhapsody in Blue," capturing the energy of the Roaring Twenties in vivid detail. No less compelling is "Indiana Jones and the Mystery of the Blues," which incorporates ragtime and blues elements to striking effect -- both suites contrast sharply with the classical Hollywood sensibilities established by Williams, but retain the verve so imperative to successful adventure music. Rosenthal's breezy, romantic "Princeton 1916" does not fare quite so well -- it's simply too atmospheric and monochromatic to fit comfortably within the Young Indiana context.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny