Film Noir's Finest: Themes from the Dark Side of the Lens

Composed By: Various Artists

Distributed by: BuySoundtrax Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Who doesn't like a good murder mystery/thriller?  One with a sexy leading character and equally sexy storyline?  Usually those films have some rather dramatic music to go along with that storyline, reflecting the atmosphere of the film and its characters perfectly.  On November 6, 2012, BuySoundtrax Records released Film Noir's Finest: Themes from the Dark Side of the Lens, a compilation album celebrating movies and television series from this genre.

                Film Noir's Finest features twenty tracks of music from movies and television originally created by such well-known composers as Jerry Goldsmith, John Barry, Howard Shore, Lalo Schifrin, Alan Silvestri, Christopher Young and more, re-imagined by Dominik Hauser, Dennis McCarthy, Mark Northam, Joohyun Park, Dan Redfeld and John Beal.  The music is performed by various artists with solos by such notables as Dominik Hauser on synths, Roy Wiegand on trumpets, Tim Messina on saxophone, Elizabeth Hedman on violin and Mark Northam, Joohyun Park and Dennis McCarthy on piano.

                Lately, I have not been a fan of the re-imagined movie themes by Dominik Hauser and the like, but Film Noir's Finest is not of the same ilk.  Some re-imagined scores have been so re-imagined as to make the song unrecognizable, but in this album, the music undergoes only subtle changes, paying homage to the original scoring rather than "improving" upon it.  Interpretations are well-meaning, but when they destroy what the original song is all about, I can't be bothered with them.  Happily, this is not the case with this music compilation.

                The music of this genre is generally jazz and there is a lot of jazz to be found on this album with the Theme from Body Heat, the Theme from Chinatown, the Love Theme from Blade Runner, the Theme from Dirty Harry, Laura's Theme from Remington Steele and more.  But classical music is also well-represented here with the Theme from Jagged Edge, the Theme from Basic Instinct, the Theme from Blowout and more.

                Film Noir's Finest: Themes from the Dark Side of the Lens is an incredibly relaxing album featuring some of the best jazz and classical themes from the genre.  I loved the themes with saxophone and piano solos the best, but the entire album was a purely enjoyable experience I'm glad to have had the opportunity to partake in.  This is a great album to listen to when you need to wind down from a particularly rough day at the office or to take the edge off on a particularly nasty day in general.  I highly recommend this to any fan of jazz, classical or mystery/thrillers in general.


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