VOICES Notes and news on Contemporary Jazz releases
30 NOV 10 JONATHAN WIDRAN
Grammy-winning keyboardist Randy Waldman celebrated great film scores and TV themes on his 2001 Concord Jazz album UnReel, which holds the distinction of being perhaps the only CD in history to feature both the "Schindler's List" theme and Michael Sembello's Flashdance hit "Maniac."
Music fans that read credits may know Waldman's myriad accomplishments as a studio musician. He's recorded with everyone from Michael Jackson and Madonna to George Benson, Frank Sinatra, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Michael Buble. In 2007, he was the musical director for Josh Groban's "Awake" tour and his soundtrack credits include The Bodyguard, Forrest Gump and Back To The Future. In May 2010, Randy was listed at #50 on the list of 100 Greatest Jazz Pianists on music website Digital Dream Door. (But how many people know he's also a pilot who holds a 2003 flight speed record in a Bell OH-58 helicopter?)
UnReel juxtaposes the theme from The Jetsons alongside Mannix and Forrest Gump, and Leave It To Beaver and Hawaii Five-O. That sort of unique, tongue-in-cheek playfulness alongside some serious jamming by the jazz elite sums up the concept. He brings his myriad talents as pianist, arranger, and trumpeter to this collection, artfully rearranging these pieces and performing them with a virtuostic jazz twist. The disc features the dynamic interplay of Waldman's trio (John Patitucci, Vinnie Colaiuta) and a lineup of guests including Michael and Randy Brecker, Gary Burton, Branford Marsalis, Tom Scott, and Ernie Watts. Waldman and his spirited pals made it fun to expect the unexpected.