Saturday, September 20, 2008
John Cassavetes: Faces - Music From The Sound Track
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 archive.org):