I want to pay my small and in a certain way superficial tribute to Michelangelo Antonioni who passed away on July 30 2007. I am not an expert but I am smart enough to catch the difference between a movie like Blow Up or Zabriskie Point and an American blockbuster. Antonioni has been a great filmmaker and the rest is history. Plus is Italian, so we are proud of him. We talk all the time about foreign artists so let me be “jingoistic” this time.
Being not an expert of cinema makes me take Antonioni from a music point of view. This is musicselections after all.
Antonioni hes been a visionary director who always paid attention to the relationship between music and image. In the early days he used to work with the Italian composer Giovanni Fusco. Then, when he “blew up” as one of the most talented and skilled filmmaker of the sixties and seventies, he had a chance to work with some great musicians such as Herbie Hancock (Blow Up), Pink Floyd and Jerry Garcia from Grateful Dead (Zabriskie Point), Giorgio Gaslini (La Notte) among others.
The match between this musicians and the great Antonioni is simply perfect.
Herbie Hancock does not need any presentation.
Herbie Hancock, something of a progidy in the jazz world in ’66, and still considered one of the best jazz musicians around, did the soundtrack for Blow-Up. He was disappointed that Antonioni kept the volume low in most of the film. Antonioni was a great fan of Hancock’s music and sought him out for the making of Blow-Up. When the two met for the first time, Hancock was taken aback to discover how much Antonioni knew about jazz.
Many of these songs are great examples of the 60′s Blue Note jazz style, which could include hard-driving numbers as in “End Title ( Blow-Up)” and “Bring Down the Birds,” bluesy sounds as in the Verushka episode, and more cool ones as in “The Naked Camera.” The modal feel of this latter piece gives it a meditative, cerebral quality appropriate for some parts of Blow-Up, and it recalls “Maiden Voyage,” a tune that helped make Hancock famous. A young Joe Henderson plays tenor on this piece, showing us how he got to be one of the finest saxophonists in the world.
Here my selection (you’ll find a download link at the end of this post):
Talking about Pink Floyd to me is like bring me back to my childhood. I remember when I was 14 years old and I was mad about their psychedelic period. Live in Pompei was in heavy rotation in my vhs-player.
Watch this video, this is the last scene of Zabriskie Point.
From Wikipedia: The song was originally released as the B-side of their single “Point Me at the Sky“. Pink Floyd re-recorded the track for Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni‘s film, Zabriskie Point. The song is retiled “Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up” on the soundtrack album for the film. The music consists of a light organ based jam (using the “Egyptian” style organ that is so common of Rick Wright in this period), and an accompanying bass guitar playing just a tone and the same tone an octave above with a segue into the song’s only lyrics: the title of the song whispered menacingly, and various screams by Roger Waters. In the heavier parts and later in the quieter parts as well David Gilmour can be heard with guitar and scat vocals. The song’s performance on the “Live at Pompeii” includes the whispered words: “Down, down. Down, down. The star is screaming. Beneath the lies. Lie, lie. Careful, careful, careful with that axe, Eugene. The stars are screaming loud.”
Finally comes Jerry Garcia. I really do not know his music but he has been an LSD guru, that is enough for me to respect him :)