Jazz themed Babylon picks up best original score Golden Globe

At the 2023 Golden Globes announced last night jazz influenced composer Justin Hurwitz won for his original score for Damien Chazelle's Babylon. That takes the Hurwitz tally at the Globes with Chazelle to 4 having already won large for his work on …

Published: 11 Jan 2023. Updated: 23 days.

At the 2023 Golden Globes announced last night jazz influenced composer Justin Hurwitz won for his original score for Damien Chazelle's Babylon. That takes the Hurwitz tally at the Globes with Chazelle to 4 having already won large for his work on Chazelle's First Man and La La Land.

Babylon starring Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Diego Calva out in UK cinemas this month has a brassy style to 'Damascus Thump' which is a clarion call set against an escalating sense of urgent forboding. The action takes place in the 1920s when silent films were on their way out and talkies were about to rip through Hollywood and spell disaster for the old guard. Elsewhere on the soundtrack the baritone saxophone riff of Leo Pellegrino whose pumped up bari on steroids sound decorates the track 'Call Me Manny' (the 'Coke Room' motif elsewhere on the soundtrack is similar as is the piano detunery of the jangling 'New York' which also has a sweetened gypsy-jazz guitar line and the theme crops up among other spots done like steel pan plus fine vocal on 'I Want A Man'). Pellegrino is in a band of street musicians called Too Many Zooz. A party of all parties vibe reflects Chazelle's theme surrounding the debauchery of old Hollywood on the cusp of wholescale change.

The complete motion picture music soundtrack is streaming and includes a trad-jazz vocal powered take on high kicking Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed classic 'Singin' in the Rain', first recorded by The Rounders in 1929, the same year as the Brown and Freed evergreen 'You Were Meant For Me' was covered by among others Jack Hylton. Also a highlight is a gem of a shard of ragtime (track 13), the slow trot on 'Gold Coast Rhythm' (Sidney's Solo) that contains a superb trumpet solo and not to be forgotten there is a very fine, fun, vocal from Li Jun Li playing Lady Fay Zhu on the innuendo laden cat song 'My Girl's Pussy.' You also get a proto-Oakland strut thing going down engagingly on 'Red Devil' plus Chinese erhu and a cracking Anatolian vibe ('Nea Smyrni') all along the way, even a bit of Ravel ('Bolero'-like) flavour on 'Hearst Party' grooving organ among the Kinescope tracks and a beautiful mitteleuropa mainly cello flavoured line accompanied by piano on 'Morning.' Justin Hurwitz, photo: publicity shot

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Freaking out thriving on a riff - Christian McBride's New Jawn back with a vengeance on Head Bedlam

Track of the day: Basically a freak-out but you instinctly know that after a few seconds first time listening that it won't be for long. And it isn't. When Christian McBride's woody riff signals change things are juggled about. And then you get …

Published: 10 Jan 2023. Updated: 10 days.

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Track of the day: Basically a freak-out but you instinctly know that after a few seconds first time listening that it won't be for long. And it isn't. When Christian McBride's woody riff signals change things are juggled about. And then you get the reedy bass clarinet matching wood tonality. It's Marcus Strickland. The timber chopping beat of Nasheet Waits allows McBride to bounce the thing along when the trumpet of Josh Evans does the emoting in the bluesy lead line. Oh and listen for symmetry there's a freak out near the end. And a fade - what's not to like? From Prime out on 24 February.

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Christian McBride's New Jawn - l-r: Marcus Strickland, Nasheet Waits, Christian McBride, Josh Evans, photo: Bandcamp