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STATE AND MAIN: SOUNDTRACK

"Just look at all those musicians’ credits. A decent-sized jazz ensemble and a mini-orchestra to boot. Yet this soundtrack breathes. It’s sparse and then dense, in all the right places. Blues, jazz, mellow trumpet solos and swinging drum bursts intersecting like a well-planned grid. There are a lot of musical emotions at the corner of State and Main and none of them get in each other’s way.

Full credit must go to Shapiro who not only composed the score, but also conducted and orchestrated. He’s even the co-producer. And what production it is. I have never had a crisper sound spark from my speakers. Even the stereo image is something to behold.

The punchy motifs introduced in the Main Title have the same edgy Americana flavour to them as, say, Thomas Newman’s American Beauty, but unlike that soundtrack, are merely a pastry on which to build, not the full apple pie and cream.

It doesn’t take long for the dynamics to assert themselves, with the punchy back-beat giving way to brushes on the kit, and the sweetest of trumpet solos in only the second track. Coffee Corner, it’s called, and you can almost smell the aroma.

All the nuances are here. Hollywood comes to a small town; sleaze and greed challenge old time values. Yes, this is a review of the soundtrack only. It’s all there in the music.

For a part-time guitarist like myself, Larry Saltzman’s shimmering tone makes me weep. Tasteful chords and bluesy lines flow elegantly under his fingertips. Then just for variation, dual acoustic guitars combine majestically on Ann Dumps Doug. Ann and Doug mightn’t have it together but the guitars marry beautifully with arpeggios panned left, clean minimalist lines panned right, and the union matching perfectly in the centre over a sweet accordion.

However, for all the instrumental virtuosity, Patti LuPone’s peerless and passionate vocal for The Song Of The Old Mill (with lyrics by the film’s director/writer David Mamet) is the most alluring track of all. It’s classic blues-jazz with the lights dimmed low, not a hint of innovation, and not a hint of needing any.

But every instrument does play its part on this disc. And each part has been brilliantly arranged by Shapiro. This is intrinsically American music at its tightest and finest.

Which also suggests it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Shapiro’s compositions are cool as an ice-cube; but one that Shaprio is melting on his tongue, which he occasionally sticks in his cheek. There’s something of the jaunty irony of Mancini’s Pink Panther here or perhaps even the bluesy smirk of Mark Knofler’s guitar riffs for the score of (the David Mamet-scriped) Wag The Dog—yeah I know Knopfler’s British but he’s always harboured a heavily American Dixieland and Chet Atkins-country influence. In any case, I’m a long time fan of the old Dire Straits helmsman, so take heed when I assure you that Shapiro’s soundtrack even outswings the Sultan."
Brad Green

Published June 21, 2001

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SOUNDTRACK CLIPS:
Track One - Main Title
Track 18 - The Song Of The Old Mill

TITLE: State and Main

ID: 9026 63740 2

RCAVictor

COMPOSER/CONDUCTOR: Theodore Shapiro

PRODUCER: Theodore Sahpiro, Bill Rosenfield

MUSICIANS: Larry Saltzman (guitar), Jeffrey Allen (bass), Edward Mann (bass), Ben Perowsky (drums), Joe Bonadio (percussion and drums), Theodore Shapiro (keyboards), Chris Palmaro (keyboards), Michael Ricchiuti (keyboards), William Shimmel (accordion), Arthur Baron (trombone)

ORCHESTRA: Sandra Park (concertmaster; violin), Sharon Yamada (violin), Lisa Kim (violin), Robert Rinehart (viola), Dawn Hannay (viola), Alan Stepansky (cello), Mary Wooten (cello), Shelly Woodworth (oboe), Robert Sullivan (trumpet), Erik Charlston (marimba)

TRACKS: 18

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