Release Date: 12.10.02
Record label: dreamworks
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.
by: bill aicher
You'd think that after scoring 20 Steven Speilberg films, you'd know what to expect from a John Williams score. And, if this were the late 90's, you'd probably be right. But this isn't the late 90's, it's the early 21st Century, and John Williams has made it a point to add a bit of variation to his scoring.
His recent work on films such as A.I and Minority Report, for example, have found the legendary composer fiddling with more minimalist, futuristic soundscapes than before - nearly abandoning the grandiose thematic overtures of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Jurassic Park. Now, with his Catch Me If You Can (his 20th Speilberg score), John Williams has taken a step back to his early days and has come up with an absolutely beautiful score based around the progressive jazz of the middle 20th Century.
In his early days as a musician, before he began composing major film scores, Williams worked as a pianist for Heny Mancini's band; and the experience comes through here. Throughout the Catch Me If You Can score, Williams has put the focus on saxophonist Dan Higgins smooth melodies, imbuing the soundtrack with a period feel - something relatively new for Williams.
As Williams has progressed over the years, however, he's begun to lean toward less and less thematic music, and this comes through again in parts of Catch Me If You Can. "Airport Scene," in particular, feels strangely reminiscient of the minimalism found in A.I. and Minority Report, and can feel a bit out of place for the film's period. Yet the magnifcient smooth saxophone composition of "Recollections (The Father's Theme)," ranks among William's best and will undoubtedly become a smooth jazz saxophone standard in years to come.
As a period piece, it is also only fitting to include several "pop" period pieces, and Speilberg himself chose a few for inclusion in the film. Judy Garland's "Embraceable You" and Frank Sinatra's "Come Fly With Me" give the soundtrack an extra bit of instant time recognition, and "The Girl from Ipanema" adds the extra fun and playfulness inherent in the film's storyline.
After 20 scores with Spielberg, one would expect Williams to fall into a rut of predictability and laziness. Fortunately, with his latest works, John Williams has found a new inspiration and is continually improving in his craft. 30-Dec-2002 9:45 PM