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Soundtrack Review

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The Dave Grusin Premiere Collection


Composer: Dave Grusin
Label: Varèse Sarabande Records
Release Date: 30 November 2018

Varèse Sarabande Records release The Dave Grusin Premiere Collection which consists of four previously unreleased treasures from the Sony Pictures vaults. The collection is available as a 3-CD bundle featuring four Grusin scores …And Justice of All, Absence of Malice and Murder by Death coupled with the score from The Pursuit of Happiness...

If you're a fan of the work of Dave Grusin, then Varèse Sarabande Records has a real treat for you. Three CDs, representing four of the composers previously unreleased scores. The collection is available as a 3-disc collection now, with individual discs being made available in January 2019.

The 1979 courtroom drama, …And Justice of All is best remembered for the brilliant line Al Pacino shouts out in court, "You’re out of order! You’re out order! The whole trial is out of order!" The movie went on to great critical and box office success and was nominated for two Academy Awards. The score is pure Grusin - funky, jazzy and melodic. The score was transferred from master sources from the Sony Pictures vaults. The CD contains the Mono film version of the soundtrack as well as the stereo remix along with bonus score tracks not used in the film.

A lot of the bonus, unused, tracks are actually a lot more melodic and memorable than some in the score. 'M 81 Unused Bonus Track (Stereo Mix)' is a particular joy to listen to.

Absence of Malice, the 1981 drama, stars Paul Newman, Sally Field and Melinda Dillon. Newman, Dillon and writers Kurt Luedtke and David Rasyfel were all nominated for Oscars. This movie was one of numerous collaborations between Grusin and director Sydney Pollack.

The 1976 film, Murder by Death, is among the most requested of Grusin’s unreleased scores by fans. The satirical murder mystery was directed by Robert Moore and features an all-star cast of Eileen Brennan, Truman Capote, James Coco, Peter Falk, Sir Alec Guinness, David Niven, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith and Nancy Walker. The score is a satire of murder mysteries and it rises to the task with a wonderful and melodic main title. The sources provided by Sony are in mono but sound superb. This is one of those scores you will be humming after listening to it. As a bonus Varèse Sarabande Records have added the music from the 1971 Robert Mulligan film, The Pursuit of Happiness. The movie stars Michael Sarrazin, Barbara Hershey and E.G. Marshall. The plot is about a young college student who is sent to prison for killing a pedestrian with his car. When the opportunity presents itself, he escapes and is subsequently on the run with his girlfriend. On top of the maestro’s score, we have included the Randy Newman main/end title credit song, 'Let Me Go', which is also used in variations during key moments in the film.

Murder by Death is arguably the most enjoyable score here. It's less jazz based and more modern in its delivery. This is easily the score that's aged the best. If you're a Grusin fan this collection is essential. And the sweetener is that all have been transferred from master sources uncovered in Sony Pictures vaults.


Darren Rea