Saturday, September 20, 2008

John Cassavetes: Faces - Music From The Sound Track

John Cassavetes: Faces

As impossible as it is to overestimate the importance of John Cassavetes's work in the realm of independent film, it's equally daunting to even know where to start discussing it. Fortunately we don't need to, as on the web alone there is this introductory overview from the Chicago Reader, a extensive tribute at Senses of Cinema, a particularly insightful 40th anniversary examination of Faces at Bright Lights Film Journal, various writings by tireless/obsessive Cassavetes torch-bearer Ray Carney, and undoubtedly dozens of other sites/articles/tributes/etc. For now we're just interested in the music, and as such this release is a real curiosity.

This LP was presumably rushed out to capitalize on the surprising critical success of Faces, though I've never come across a single mention of it in any Cassavetes bio. As the title says, the album (produced by Miles Davis' producer/arranger/editor/collaborator Teo Macero) is comprised of "music from the soundtrack, plus music inspired by the film;" what this means is that only a few tracks were actually featured in the film (Love Is All You Really Want, Love Has Conquered Man, and Charlie Smalls' stark and soulful Never Felt Like This Before), while the rest are either extrapolations of musical themes from the minimal score (i.e. two additional renditions of Love Is All You Really Want), or are pieces with loose thematic or practical ties to scenes in the film (I Dream of Jeannie, Deck The Halls[?]).

It's impossible to say who's "inspiration" was responsible for this collection, as three of the four people who would presumably know -- Macero, Smalls (a composer and songwriter later known for writing the music for the 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz), and Cassavetes himself -- are no longer with us (anyone have a phone number for Jack Ackerman?). Personally, I'm just glad that an officially-produced soundtrack to any Cassavetes film exists; the only other one I know of is Bill Conti's Gloria score, issued in a limited edition by Varese Sarabane's limited-edition and now out of print. Now, if only someone would put together a nice collection of Bo Harwood's music for John's other films (hint hint)...

Charlie Smalls: Never Felt Like This Before:

Download the album here

---> Plus! Bonus! ---> ---> --->

Check out this newly-discovered interview with Seymour Cassell, conducted on Pacifica Radio with Claire Clouzot just days after the first public screening of Faces (courtesy the indispensable


cosmo said...

I am looking for this quite a while now. props to you

Festus Von Gunsmoke said...

You're most welcome, Cosmo. Give my best to Mr. Sophistication and the girls at the Crazy Horse.

Anonymous said...

Sweet find and upload, man! This Smalls track has been haunting me for a while. Thanks!

Moskowitz said...

Thanks for posting... great film great soundtrack and yes I've been looking on-line for a Bo Harwood soundtrack compilation.
A great book on Cassavetes came out recently(2007) 'Cassavetes Directs'(John Cassavetes on the making of Love Streams), by Michael Ventura about Cassavetes's film making process..

Anonymous said...

Thanx a lot for this rare album!

Festus Von Gunsmoke said...

You're welcome, Seymour. Hopefully a Harwood album will appear someday, somewhere, somehow.

I'll second that recommendation for the Ventura book -- brilliantly insightful, the most revealing behind-the-scenes work on Cassavetes we're ever likely to see. A real treasure.

Anonymous said...

I've always wondered who plays on this record
It seems that Deck the Halls also appeared on the Jingle Bell Jazz Comp. so this could be the personel.
Copied from

JINGLE BELL JAZZ" Columbia 8693 B:3 5:00
DECK THE HALLS (traditional)
1/14/1969 NYC
Jay Cee (arr)
Woody Shaw (tpt) [24 & 3 weeks]
Jimmy Cleveland (tb)
Frank Wess (ts) [47 & 10 days]
Dave Carey (vib)
Armando Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock (p)
Al Caiola (g)
George Duvivier (b)
Ed Shaughnessy (dr) [40 in 15 days]

Festus Von Gunsmoke said...

Thanks for the detective work, Anonymous!

Anonymous said...

yes great movie, saw it yesterday on german free tv, i would like to have the original songs from the movie...thanks for the upload!