Lalo Schifrin: "Black Widow & Towering Toccata" (CTI/Robinsongs)
Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)
Produced by Creed Taylor
Engineered by Rudy Van Gelder & Joe Jorgensen
Arranged & Conducted by Lalo Schifrin
These albums feature some of the greatest jazz musicians of the period including Eric Gale, John Tropea, Steve Gadd, Hubert Laws, Don Alias, Sue Evans, Anthony Jackson & Joe Farrell to name but a few. Lalo Schifrin puts a jazz-funk vibe to some classic movie themes including Steven Spielberg's blockbuster "Jaws" which was released as a single and charted at 14 in the UK Singles chart, and became a worldwide Disco smash. Schifrin's CTI debut "Black Widow" proved a hit as it landed at no. 22 in the US list of Jazz bestsellers, and it also appeared on the R&B chart. There are stunning arrangements of "old" material: Ary Barroso's "Bahia" (Na Baixa do Sapateiro), Les Baxter's "Quiet Village", the lovely "Flamingo," and the standard "Moonglow" (Theme from "Picnic.") It's a joy to listen guitarists Eric Gale and John Tropea playing together in all tracks!
Buoyed by good sales and the encouraging public reception Schifrin returned to the studio to cut his second CTI album "Towering Toccata," featuring Jeremy Steig, Urbie Green, John Blair, Clark Spangler, Don Armando, Steve Gadd, Will Lee, John Tropea, Ralph MacDonald, Ronnie Cuber etc. Again there was plenty of effervescent disco-funk grooves (even on the title track, an adaptation of the famous "Toccata & Fugue in D Minor" by J.S. Bach!) plus big movie themes including "King Kong." But also some ballads like "Eagles In Love" and "France's Theme." My personal favorite track is "Midnight Woman," a song I've included in my compilation "CTI Acid Jazz Grooves" back in 1997, featuring Lalo's terrific solo on Fender Rhodes.
This reissue features liner notes by Charles Waring, contributor to MOJO magazine & Record Collector.