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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

‘Towering Toccata’

Lalo Schifrin

Sony Music – CTI ‘The Master Series’ - 5127982



Towering Toccata


Most Wanted Theme


Frances’ Theme


Midnight Woman




Roller Coaster


Eagles In Love


Eagles In Love (alt. take)


Theme From King Kong


Cinema-goers will no doubt be familiar with Lalo Schifrin’s musical compositions and arrangements. The scores for ‘Cool Hand Luke,’ ‘Roller Coaster,’ ‘Bullitt,’ ‘The Eagle Has Landed,’ the ‘Dirty Harry’ series and ‘Mission Impossible’ are some of Schifrin’s extensive work. Four of the titles on ‘Towering Toccata’ are film themes.

In 1976 after several years on the jazz scene Schifrin signed a second contract with CTI Records (Creed Taylor Inc.) - that being one of the most popular labels of the era. His first album with CTI was ‘Black Widow’ which, according to reviewer Didier C. Deutsch, ‘blended his natural flair for exotic rhythms with the disco beat that prevailed at the time.’ It was an unmitigated success! Nine months later as a follow-up ‘Towering Toccata was recorded using the same formula as before employing an impressive list of musicians including Urbie Green, Joe Farrell, Jeremy Steig and Eric Gale. This was not received with the same enthusiasm and the album soon went into obscurity. Deutsch, who lauds its re-release, claims that today ‘it has become a much sought-after collectors’ item.’ These interpretations of original themes are very much suited to the sound preferred by many DJs. I am not a fan of the monotonous thumping sounds that pass for music at discos and wedding receptions.

The current collection of CTI albums is impressive but I feel ‘Towering Toccata’ lets things down. Schifrin did some great things with Dizzy Gillespie and Cannonball Adderley and amongst his influences are Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk and Oscar Peterson – sadly little of that is evident here.

Jack Ashby

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