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Lalo Schifrin|Towering Toccata

Towering Toccata

Lalo Schifrin

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After scoring an unexpected high-profile success with the disco/jazz fusion of Black Widow, Lalo Schifrin quickly recorded a follow-up album in a similar vein. 1977's Towering Toccata replicates the elegant yet dance-friendly style of Black Widow to the tee, right down to the unconventional cover choices. The best of these is the title track, an insistently rhythmic piece that transforms Bach's gothic-organ extravaganza "Toccata and Prelude in F Minor" into a mid-tempo disco workout that backs up Schifrin's jazzy explorations on the electric piano and synthesizer with scratching rhythm guitar and a pronounced dance beat. Other notable moments on this album include "Most Wanted Theme," which is transformed from action-show theme music into a symphonic funk workout, and "Rollercoaster," a funky vamp from the Schifrin soundtrack of the same name that is ideally suited for Towering Toccata's disco/jazz mindset. There is even another monster-movie theme cover in the vein of the previous album's "Jaws"; this time, it's a disco-friendly treatment of John Barry's "Theme From King Kong" that layers atmospheric horn and flute lines over a bottom-heavy rhythm section fueled by wah-wah guitar and synth bass. However, other tracks on Towering Toccata fail to be as distinctive or adventurous as these highlights. For instance, the original tunes ("Macumba," "Midnight Woman") fit the album's mood but are lacking strong hooks and memorable twists in their arrangements that distinguished the originals on Black Widow. This problem of inconsistent material, combined with the fact that the album is basically a stylistic carbon copy of its predecessor, means that it isn't the ideal follow-up to Black Widow that Schifrin fans might have hoped for. That said, the album has enough strong tunes and enough of a consistent sound to please hardcore Lalo Schifrin fans and anyone who loved Black Widow.

© Donald A. Guarisco /TiVo

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Towering Toccata

Lalo Schifrin

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1
Towering Toccata (Based On The Toccata & Fugue in D Minor) (Album Version)
00:05:05

David Nadien, Violin - Gerry Niewood, Alto Saxophone - J. S. Bach, Composer - J. S. Bach, Lyricist - Emanuel Green, Violin - Sue Evans, Percussion - Charles Libove, Violin - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Manny Vardi, Viola - Don Armando, Percussion - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Max Polikoff, Violin - Lamar Alsop, Viola - Ralph MacDonald, Percussion - L. Schifrin, Composer - L. Schifrin, Lyricist - Burt Collins, Trumpet - Dave Tofani, Tenor Saxophone - Creed Taylor, Producer - John Frosk, Trumpet - Urbie Green, Trombone - Jeremy Steig, Performer - Paul Gershman, Violin - Matthew Raimondi, Violin - Max Ellen, Violin - Lou Marini, Performer - Lou Marini, Tenor Saxophone - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Clark Spangler, Keyboards - John Gatchell, Trumpet - Lalo Schifrin, Conductor - Lalo Schifrin, Arranger - Lalo Schifrin, Performer

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Frances' Theme (From The Film, The Day Of The Animals) (Album Version)
00:04:20

David Nadien, Violin - Gerry Niewood, Alto Saxophone - Emanuel Green, Violin - Charles Libove, Violin - Sue Evans, Percussion - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Manny Vardi, Viola - Don Armando, Percussion - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Max Polikoff, Violin - Lamar Alsop, Viola - Ralph MacDonald, Percussion - L. Schifrin, Composer - L. Schifrin, Lyricist - Burt Collins, Trumpet - Dave Tofani, Tenor Saxophone - Creed Taylor, Producer - John Frosk, Trumpet - Urbie Green, Trombone - Paul Gershman, Violin - Matthew Raimondi, Violin - Max Ellen, Violin - Lou Marini, Tenor Saxophone - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Clark Spangler, Keyboards - John Gatchell, Trumpet - Lalo Schifrin, Conductor - Lalo Schifrin, Arranger - Lalo Schifrin, Performer

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
Macumba (Album Version)
00:06:16

David Nadien, Violin - Gerry Niewood, Alto Saxophone - Emanuel Green, Violin - Sue Evans, Percussion - Charles Libove, Violin - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Manny Vardi, Viola - Don Armando, Percussion - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Max Polikoff, Violin - Lamar Alsop, Viola - Ralph MacDonald, Percussion - L. Schifrin, Composer - L. Schifrin, Lyricist - Burt Collins, Trumpet - Dave Tofani, Tenor Saxophone - Creed Taylor, Producer - John Frosk, Trumpet - Urbie Green, Trombone - Eric Gale, Performer - Jeremy Steig, Performer - Paul Gershman, Violin - Matthew Raimondi, Violin - Max Ellen, Violin - Lou Marini, Performer - Lou Marini, Tenor Saxophone - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Clark Spangler, Keyboards - John Gatchell, Trumpet - Lalo Schifrin, Conductor - Lalo Schifrin, Arranger - Lalo Schifrin, Performer

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Eagles In Love (From The Film, The Eagle Has Landed) (Album Version)
00:02:51

David Nadien, Violin - Gerry Niewood, Alto Saxophone - Emanuel Green, Violin - Charles Libove, Violin - Sue Evans, Percussion - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Manny Vardi, Viola - Don Armando, Percussion - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Max Polikoff, Violin - Lamar Alsop, Viola - Ralph MacDonald, Percussion - L. Schifrin, Composer - L. Schifrin, Lyricist - Burt Collins, Trumpet - Dave Tofani, Tenor Saxophone - Creed Taylor, Producer - John Frosk, Trumpet - Urbie Green, Trombone - Paul Gershman, Violin - Matthew Raimondi, Violin - Max Ellen, Violin - Lou Marini, Tenor Saxophone - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Clark Spangler, Keyboards - John Gatchell, Trumpet - Lalo Schifrin, Conductor - Lalo Schifrin, Arranger - Lalo Schifrin, Performer

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Theme From King Kong (From THe Paramount Film, King Kong) (Album Version)
00:04:13

David Nadien, Violin - Gerry Niewood, Alto Saxophone - Emanuel Green, Violin - Sue Evans, Percussion - Charles Libove, Violin - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Manny Vardi, Viola - Don Armando, Percussion - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Max Polikoff, Violin - Lamar Alsop, Viola - Ralph MacDonald, Percussion - Burt Collins, Trumpet - Dave Tofani, Tenor Saxophone - Creed Taylor, Producer - John Frosk, Trumpet - Urbie Green, Trombone - Eric Gale, Performer - John Tropea, Performer - Paul Gershman, Violin - Jeff Barry, Composer - Jeff Barry, Lyricist - Matthew Raimondi, Violin - Max Ellen, Violin - Lou Marini, Tenor Saxophone - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Clark Spangler, Keyboards - John Gatchell, Trumpet - Lalo Schifrin, Conductor - Lalo Schifrin, Arranger - Lalo Schifrin, Performer

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
Most Wanted Theme (Album Version)
00:02:43

David Nadien, Violin - Gerry Niewood, Alto Saxophone - Anthony Jackson, Bass - Will Lee, Bass - Emanuel Green, Violin - Sue Evans, Percussion - Charles Libove, Violin - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Manny Vardi, Viola - Don Armando, Percussion - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Max Polikoff, Violin - Lamar Alsop, Viola - L. Schifrin, Composer - L. Schifrin, Lyricist - Ralph MacDonald, Percussion - Burt Collins, Trumpet - Dave Tofani, Tenor Saxophone - Creed Taylor, Producer - John Frosk, Trumpet - Urbie Green, Trombone - Paul Gershman, Violin - Max Ellen, Violin - Lou Marini, Tenor Saxophone - Matthew Raimondi, Violin - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Clark Spangler, Keyboards - John Gatchell, Trumpet - Lalo Schifrin, Conductor - Lalo Schifrin, Arranger - Lalo Schifrin, Performer

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
Midnight Woman (Album Version)
00:06:09

David Nadien, Violin - Gerry Niewood, Alto Saxophone - Anthony Jackson, Bass - Will Lee, Bass - Emanuel Green, Violin - Sue Evans, Percussion - Charles Libove, Violin - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Manny Vardi, Viola - Don Armando, Percussion - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Max Polikoff, Violin - Lamar Alsop, Viola - Ralph MacDonald, Percussion - L. Schifrin, Composer - L. Schifrin, Lyricist - Burt Collins, Trumpet - Dave Tofani, Tenor Saxophone - Creed Taylor, Producer - John Frosk, Trumpet - Urbie Green, Trombone - Paul Gershman, Violin - Matthew Raimondi, Violin - Max Ellen, Violin - Lou Marini, Tenor Saxophone - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Clark Spangler, Keyboards - John Gatchell, Trumpet - Joe Farrell, Performer - Lalo Schifrin, Conductor - Lalo Schifrin, Arranger - Lalo Schifrin, Performer

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
Roller Coaster (From The Universal Film, Rollercoaster) (Album Version)
00:04:48

David Nadien, Violin - Gerry Niewood, Alto Saxophone - Emanuel Green, Violin - Sue Evans, Percussion - Charles Libove, Violin - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Manny Vardi, Viola - Don Armando, Percussion - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Max Polikoff, Violin - Lamar Alsop, Viola - Ralph MacDonald, Percussion - L. Schifrin, Composer - L. Schifrin, Lyricist - Burt Collins, Trumpet - Dave Tofani, Tenor Saxophone - Creed Taylor, Producer - John Frosk, Trumpet - Urbie Green, Trombone - Paul Gershman, Violin - Matthew Raimondi, Violin - Max Ellen, Violin - Lou Marini, Tenor Saxophone - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Andrew Smith, Drums - Clark Spangler, Keyboards - John Gatchell, Trumpet - Lalo Schifrin, Conductor - Lalo Schifrin, Arranger - Lalo Schifrin, Performer

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

9
Eagles In Love (From The Film, The Eagle Has Landed) (Alt. Take)
00:04:41

David Nadien, Violin - Gerry Niewood, Alto Saxophone - Emanuel Green, Violin - Charles Libove, Violin - Sue Evans, Percussion - Charles McCracken, Acoustic Cello - Manny Vardi, Viola - Don Armando, Percussion - Marvin Morgenstern, Violin - Max Polikoff, Violin - Lamar Alsop, Viola - Ralph MacDonald, Percussion - L. Schifrin, Composer - L. Schifrin, Lyricist - Burt Collins, Trumpet - Dave Tofani, Tenor Saxophone - Creed Taylor, Producer - John Frosk, Trumpet - Urbie Green, Trombone - Paul Gershman, Violin - Matthew Raimondi, Violin - Max Ellen, Violin - Lou Marini, Tenor Saxophone - Alan Shulman, Acoustic Cello - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Clark Spangler, Keyboards - John Gatchell, Trumpet - Lalo Schifrin, Conductor - Lalo Schifrin, Arranger - Lalo Schifrin, Performer

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Album review

After scoring an unexpected high-profile success with the disco/jazz fusion of Black Widow, Lalo Schifrin quickly recorded a follow-up album in a similar vein. 1977's Towering Toccata replicates the elegant yet dance-friendly style of Black Widow to the tee, right down to the unconventional cover choices. The best of these is the title track, an insistently rhythmic piece that transforms Bach's gothic-organ extravaganza "Toccata and Prelude in F Minor" into a mid-tempo disco workout that backs up Schifrin's jazzy explorations on the electric piano and synthesizer with scratching rhythm guitar and a pronounced dance beat. Other notable moments on this album include "Most Wanted Theme," which is transformed from action-show theme music into a symphonic funk workout, and "Rollercoaster," a funky vamp from the Schifrin soundtrack of the same name that is ideally suited for Towering Toccata's disco/jazz mindset. There is even another monster-movie theme cover in the vein of the previous album's "Jaws"; this time, it's a disco-friendly treatment of John Barry's "Theme From King Kong" that layers atmospheric horn and flute lines over a bottom-heavy rhythm section fueled by wah-wah guitar and synth bass. However, other tracks on Towering Toccata fail to be as distinctive or adventurous as these highlights. For instance, the original tunes ("Macumba," "Midnight Woman") fit the album's mood but are lacking strong hooks and memorable twists in their arrangements that distinguished the originals on Black Widow. This problem of inconsistent material, combined with the fact that the album is basically a stylistic carbon copy of its predecessor, means that it isn't the ideal follow-up to Black Widow that Schifrin fans might have hoped for. That said, the album has enough strong tunes and enough of a consistent sound to please hardcore Lalo Schifrin fans and anyone who loved Black Widow.

© Donald A. Guarisco /TiVo

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