Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Round Midnight" (1986)

Round Midnight is a 1986 film directed by Bertrand Tavernier and written by David Rayfiel and Bertrand Tavernier. It tells the story of an African American tenor saxophone player in Paris in the 1950s who is befriended by an unsuccessful French graphic designer who idolizes the musician and who tries desperately to help him to escape alcohol abuse. The protagonist jazzman, "Dale Turner," was based on a composite of real-life jazz legends Lester Young (tenor sax) and the tortured and enigmatic Bud Powell (piano). While the film is fictionalized, it is drawn directly from the memoir/biography Dance of the Infidels written by Francis Paudras, who had befriended Powell during his Paris expatriate days and on whom the character "Francis" is based. The film is a wistful and tragic portrait that captures the Paris jazz scene of the 1950s.
Dexter Gordon was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and won a Grammy for the film's soundtrack entitled "The Other Side of Round Midnight" in the category for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance, Soloist. Herbie Hancock won the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score. The soundtrack was released in two parts: Round Midnight and The Other Side of Round Midnight


Tavernier defied the movie studio by insisting that real-life jazz tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon play the role of Turner. Gordon, who himself played with Bud Powell in Paris in the early 1960s, helped to revise and rewrite the script. The supporting cast is likewise composed of jazz musicians (from a slightly later period) such as Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, John McLaughlin, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Pierre Michelot, Eric Le Lann, and others who play the music live throughout the film. In addition to the musicians, the movie stars François Cluzet, Gabrielle Haker, Sandra Reaves-Phillips, Lonette McKee, and Christine Pascal.


Round Midnight is a soundtrack album by Herbie Hancock featuring music recorded for Bertrand Tavernier's film Round Midnight released in 1986 on Columbia Records. The album features performances by Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Bobby McFerrin, Dexter Gordon, Pierre Michelot, Billy Higgins, John McLaughlin, Chet Baker, Bobby Hutcherson, Wayne Shorter, Lonette McKee, and Cedar Walton, most of whom appear in the film. It won the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score in 1986, against strong competition, most notably Ennio Morricone's The Mission and Jerry Goldsmith's Hoosiers. Additional music recorded during the making of the film was released under Dexter Gordon's name as The Other Side of Round Midnight (1986).

Track listing

1."Round Midnight" (Thelonious Monk, Bernie Hanighen, Cootie Williams) - 5.35
2."Body and Soul" (Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, Frank Eyton, Johnny Green) - 5.54
3."Bérangère's Nightmare" (Hancock) - 3.06
4."Fair Weather" (Kenny Dorham) - 6.05
5-"Una Noche Con Francis" (Bud Powell) - 4.22
6.-"The Peacocks" (Jimmy Rowles) - 7.16
7.-"How Long Has This Been Going On?" (Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin) - 3.12
8.-"Rhythm-A-Ning" (Monk) - 4.11
9.-"Still Time" (Hancock) - 3.50
10.-"Minuit Aux Champs-Elysées" (Henri Renaud) - 3.26
11.-"Chan's Song (Never Said)" (Stevie Wonder, Hancock) - 4.15


-Herbie Hancock: piano (all tracks except 8)
-Ron Carter: bass (tracks 1, 8 & 11)
-Tony Williams: drums (tracks 1, 8 & 11)
-Bobby McFerrin: vocal (tracks 1 & 11)
-Dexter Gordon: tenor saxophone (tracks 2,5,7,8 & 9)
-Pierre Michelot: bass (tracks 2,3,4,5,6,7 & 9)
-Billy Higgins: drums (tracks 2,3,4,5,6,7 & 9)
-John McLaughlin: guitar (tracks 2 & 3)
-Chet Baker: vocal & trumpet (track 4)
-Bobby Hutcherson: vibes (tracks 5 & 10)
-Wayne Shorter: tenor saxophone (track 5), soprano saxophone (track 6)
-Lonette McKee: vocal (track 7)
-Freddie Hubbard: trumpet (track 8)
-Cedar Walton: piano (track 8)

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