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
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."
Published June 21, 2001
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Track One - Main Title
Track 18 - The Song Of The Old Mill
TITLE: State and Main
ID: 9026 63740 2
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)
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