Monday, June 4, 2012

Lalo Schifrin - Enter the Dragon (1973)

In my own opinion this is one of the greatest scores to tackle a variety of styles and influences and do them all very well. Its hard to deny Lalo Schifrin's jazz background as an influence on his composition style. After being Dizzy Gillespie's musical director for a time and hearing his earlier work it is pretty evident that the Argentinian-born composer/musician's roots are in jazz. If you have ever heard Schifrin's score of Dirty Harry you will be familiar with many of the jazz sounds as well as his use for the tinny, almost electric-sounding brass that tells of impending doom such as in the track "Goodbye Oharra" or the sweeping flutes and the various electronic elements that warn of an ominous lurking danger such as the track "Broken Mirrors." Yet, Enter the Dragon also embraces Far Eastern elements with the instrumentation and even the tonality at times. Tracks such as "Han's Island" or "Su-Lin" are entirely written with a heavy influence of Chinese music, and makes the listener wonder how Schifrin was so easily able to write in a way that was probably so foreign to him. Despite the tracks that are very groundbreaking for the various influences present, other such as "Headset Jazz" and a personal favorite "The Gentle Softness" show how at home Schifrin is in the realm of mainstream jazz and its crossover elements typical of the early 1970s. Schifrin, in my opinion, is one of the finest living film scorers of today, it is just a shame that he doesn't write for films anymore or that there isn't a scorer that incorporates elements of his music into their own scores. His scores show a willingness to embrace music of any worth regardless of the origin and to make a fantastic, original product.