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Old 08-02-2013, 06:13 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Two Great French Cinema Sountracks


Two groundbreaking French cinema soundtracks: Last Tango In Paris (1972) & Amelie (2001)

The Last Tango In Paris Story

Wasn't it just like Marlon Brando to make his middle aged acting comeback in a French produced film, directed by an Italian filmmaker (the magnificent Bernando Bertolucci), which created such a stir in America for it's taboo scenes of sexuality, it became the first mainstream movie to receive the dreaded "X" rating from the Motion Pictures of America film ratings board. Last Tango In Paris stormed America like barbarians at the gate and ushered in a new age of authenticity in filmmakers the gave us such great new realist film directors as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Cimino, Terrence Malick and John Cassavetes. After Last Tango there was no turning back to the old days of Hollywood formula movies.


Photo above: Gato Barbieri

One of the most distinctive features of Last Tango In Paris was a bracing film score that was composed and performed by a young Argentine saxophonist, Gato Barbieri. Barbieri fused elements of noir jazz, tango music and French musette music to write a soundtrack that bristled with sexual intensity. Who can ever forget Barbieri's tune Jeanne, which served as the theme music for Brando's sexual nemesis, the Parisian femme fatale, Maria Schneider?



The main theme of Last Tango shimmered with a delicate beauty but it morphed into a primal anthem of musical seduction.



==============================

The Amélie Story

Amélie was an off kilter, quirky French romantic comedy that came out of nowhere to take the world by storm in 2001. Amélie's director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, is a self-taught director who was very quickly interested by cinema, with a predilection for a fantastic cinema where form is as important as the subject.


Yann Tiersen L'enfant Terrible of French Pop

Jenunet's choice of Yann Tiersen to compose the score to Amélie's was a stroke of genius. Tiersen was the L'enfant terrible of French pop who grew up playing the Sex Pistols and the Ramones until somebody discovered his genius at music composition and arrangement. Jenunet and Tiersen, these two rebellious iconoclasts of French cinema turned out to be a perfect cinematic pair.

On the song Comptine d'un autre été: L'aprčs-midi, Tiersen writes and performs a piano solo piece that strongly resembles the style of the great French classical minimalist Erik Satie:



But the full range of Tiersen's brilliance is on full display on the majestic orchestral pieces he writes and performs for the Amélie musical score. In the song, Les Jours Tristes Tiersen has full orchestra parts and he plays assortment of odd musical instruments like a toy piano, a squeeze box, and a banjo to create a mysterious, other-worldly quality to the soundtrack.

Did I tell you that Tiersen is also an instrumental prodigy who plays twenty different musical instruments with proficiency? Tiersen played most of the instruments on the Amélie soundtrack himself using overdub recording techniques. Some folks get all the talent...

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Last edited by Gavin B.; 08-02-2013 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 08-03-2013, 04:30 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Bonus Post!- Yann Tiersen Live

I decided to expand my previous posting on French soundtrack composer Yann Tiersen by adding some videos of his live performances.

Live @ Eurorock (2001)



Live at Radio Station KCRW, Santa Barbara California (2012)

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Old 08-03-2013, 07:47 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Bebo Best:-
At first run-through, I really liked the songs that you posted, though I´m not quite as enthusiastic as Miss P - I feel like they are missing a bit of exploratory jazz workout in the middle of them, as if Bebo or someone kept too tight a reign on the song structure. Still that´s just a first impression, so I still have some listening to do.

What I really enjoyed was reading about this obscure material that I´ve never heard of, and I was particularly impressed when you placed Bebo in the context of Italian culture since the Romans. That was very neatly done!

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One word of advice to Mr. Best: hire a publicist in the United States... Nobody has heard of you in America... which is a lowdown shame.
^ I also suspect that it wouldn´t hurt to lose album covers like these if he wants to be taken seriously as a composer - or is that part of the obscurist charm, I wonder ?

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Old 08-03-2013, 10:35 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisnaholic View Post
Bebo Best:-
At first run-through, I really liked the songs that you posted, though I´m not quite as enthusiastic as Miss P - I feel like they are missing a bit of exploratory jazz workout in the middle of them, as if Bebo or someone kept too tight a reign on the song structure. Still that´s just a first impression, so I still have some listening to do.

What I really enjoyed was reading about this obscure material that I´ve never heard of, and I was particularly impressed when you placed Bebo in the context of Italian culture since the Romans. That was very neatly done!



^ I also suspect that it wouldn´t hurt to lose album covers like these if he wants to be taken seriously as a composer - or is that part of the obscurist charm, I wonder ?

I think there's a certain amount of obscurantist irony going on with the album with the cheesecake album covers. It's wry comment on the sexy lounge and easy listening album cover art of the 50s and 60s. I can also understand how some people would get turned off by cartoonish caricatures of females.

I think most of Mr. Best's songs are tightly arranged which is technically "fake" jazz; or what some music critics are calling "Nu-jazz" with the misspelling as a code to indicate the fakery of the musical form. But I'm not surprised because the entire outernational music movement is built upon the idea of electronic enhancement of the music of traditional musical forms.

I can't find any live performances of the Super Lounge Orchestra on YouTube, which would allow me to assess their improvisational skills. However, I don't place that much of premium on improvisational skills in lounge and soundtrack music because nearly all of it is tightly arranged. I think of Bebo Best as being a counterpart to someone like Quincy Jones who definitely who wrote tight arrangements to his jazz big band compositions.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:56 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Thanks for explaining that the term "Nu-Jazz" refers to more than just the date of manufacture - I didn´t realise that.

I´m still working my way though some of your selections, Gavin, and listened to Elizabeth Butterfly yesterday. They seemed nice, rather light to me, but I´m going to play them again as you recommend them so highly:-
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Easy Paris is far and away my favorite outernational album. The sad thing is I've never seen Easy Paris for sale anywhere in the United States and I have no idea of what happened to Elizabeth Butterfly following my 2002 trip to Paris. She obviously did not go onto international fame as a deejay or producer, and I know of no other albums by her...But we still have Paris in the summer of 2002.
^

BTW, watch out for a thread on BaBa ZuLa opening tomorrow, if you like African Head Charge, you may like them too.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:25 AM   #26 (permalink)
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For those unacquainted with the musical term Nu Jazz, here's a couple of definitions.

From Wiki:
Nu jazz is an umbrella term coined in the late 1990s to refer to music that blends jazz elements with other musical styles, such as funk, soul, electronic dance music, and free improvisation.[1] Also written nü-jazz or NuJazz, it is sometimes called electronic jazz, electro-jazz, electric jazz, e-jazz, jazztronica, jazz house, phusion, neo-jazz, future jazz or jazz-hop.

Music critic Tony Brewer:
“Nu Jazz is to (traditional) Jazz what punk or grunge was to Rock, of course. [...] The songs are the focus, not the individual prowess of the musicians. Nu Jazz instrumentation ranges from the traditional to the experimental, the melodies are fresh, and the rhythms new and alive. It makes Jazz fun again.”
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Old 05-09-2015, 09:02 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Despite GavinB' s explanations, I never really understood what outernational music was. Maybe this song, with elements of what ? cabaret ? folk ? would be considered outernational :-



Unfortunately, GavinB seems to have abandoned us, so we may never know.
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