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Now Playing: Movie Themes - Solo Piano

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Album Review

Although Dave Grusin — the G in GRP Records — is quite capable of playing straight-ahead jazz on the piano, his skills as a pianist have often taken a back seat to his work as a record executive, composer for films and television, producer, and A&R man. But Grusin has never quit being a soloist — it's just that he has devoted so much of his time to other activities — and on Now Playing: Movie Themes, he has plenty of room to stretch out on the acoustic piano. Actually, Grusin is the only musician on this CD, which favors unaccompanied solo piano. Grusin was 68 when he recorded Now Playing in February 2003, and the disc finds him revisiting a variety of melodies he composed for movies over the years. Those who remember Grusin's hard bop activities of the '60s might hear "solo piano" and hope for some straight-ahead jazz, but Now Playing is best described as an album of pop-jazz and instrumental pop with classical overtones — and while this release is hardly a jazz purist's fantasy session, it isn't total fluff either. None of these movie melodies go back to the black-and-white era; Grusin didn't get into film scoring until 1967, and the CD's oldest offering is the theme from 1968's The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. A few of the tunes are from '70s movies (including Heaven Can Wait and Letting Go), but the decades that receive the most attention are the '80s and '90s — and Grusin revisits familiar melodies that were heard in films ranging from 1982's Tootsie to 1999's Random Hearts. Now Playing won't go down in history as Grusin's most essential release, but it's a pleasant, likable way for him to look back on his many years of film scoring.

Customer Reviews

Exquisite Piano Work from an Extrodinary Composer

I've been a fan of Dave Grusin since the age of 13 -- and recently begain purchasing his library of work primarily because I've reached the age that my critical ear has realized the incredible quality of his arranging and production quality. However upon previewing and subsequently purchasing this on iTunes I was introduced to "The Other Side" of the brilliant musicianship of Dave Grusin. For anyone who wants to hear a film soundtrack composer who is also an exquisite pianist this album is a must have for experiencing Mr. Grusin at his purest state as a tremendous classical pianist and gifted composer. This is by far one of the best of the best -- Mr. Grusin you are a consumate musician and this is a gift for any who have followed your work. On Golden Pond is merely the introduction to a wonderful expression of the beauty of your music via the piano. I would recommend this as essential to any music collection. Oh and the recording technique is something that Audiofiles will truly appreciate as well. Thank you for providing a technical and artistic gem.

From keyboard to heart

One of the best performance of “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”.
A magical Grusin like never heard before.

Simply Amazing

Mr.Grusin's work continues to enchant my life year after year. A true talent and absolute joy to listen to, his ability to compose and execute is nothing far from genius. Quality work and pure, open ideas always mark his tunes with a creatively imaginative stamp. I will listen to Dave until the day I can no longer hear! A+ work once again.


Born: June 26, 1934 in Denver, CO

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Dave Grusin has been a highly successful performer, producer, composer, record label executive, arranger, and bandleader. As a pianist, Grusin tends toward the fusion and smooth end of jazz, but he's primarily an accomplished film and television soundtrack composer. Grusin played with Terry Gibbs and Johnny Smith while studying at the University of Colorado. He was the assistant music director and pianist for Andy Williams from 1959 to 1966, and then started his television composing career. Grusin...
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