Saturday, August 18, 2007

Max Roach... a great musician.

Those who heard you are enriched.

Kenyon Hopkins... WOAH!

Kenyon Hopkins is a myth to me.
I wish he were around now- sort of like if Leonard Bernstein and David Axelrod had a love child, it would have ben "Ken" (as Johnny Mandel likes to refer to him.
Of particular note(s) is the music he did for the Elia Kazan movie "Baby Doll"... which is so... cinematic and extravagant... and indulgent and beautiful and sexy... and you wonder... WOW! THAT is sooooooome writing.
I mean besides Mr. Mandel, I don't anyone today that could even get close to that vocabulary.
Anyways, "Baby Doll" and "The Hustler" and, if you can find it (and email me if you can't) the George C. Scott TV Show "East Side West Side" are just breathtaking examples of a guy who could really write and get stuff out of a band or orchestra- and he ALWAYS hired a crack band.
I found this online:
In the early 1960s, Hopkins arranged and conducted a tame but delightful collaboration between Verve Records and Esquire Magazine. This series of four albums of "impressions in sound of an American on tour" included a mix of stereotypical tunes associated with a country (such as "La Paloma," "Arrivaderci Roma," and "Hawaiian War Chant") and Hopkins originals, played by ace group of New York session men such as Doc Severinsen and pianist Hank Jones. Tossed in amongst the music are evocative sound effects like street traffic (Italy) and bullfight noises (Spain).
Hopkins also wrote modern classical music, including two symphonies and chamber pieces.
For a superb sample of Hopkins' music, including some ultra-rare tracks, check out Basic Hip's page on Recordings by Kenyon Hopkins.