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Grand Canyon



Grand Canyon (1991)

James Newton Howard 

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Another under rated score from James Newton Howard
James Newton Howard is a teriffic composer. He has written some magnificent scores such as Waterworld, Wyatt Earp, Dinosaur and The Postman to name just a few. Grand Canyon is no exception. It is reminicent of some of his other scores by its use of the brilliant L.A Master Chorale to give the music great depth (much like Dinosaur and The Postman). Grand Canyon is in parts quiet and mystical and sometimes bold and sweeping. It also has moments of tension like that of the score for a thriller. Overall it is a great listening experience.

Once you hear it, it will never let you go.
A single E minor note in the bass, followed immediately with a short, quick arpeggio by an electric guitar which fades off into the distance. A choir begins to sing a haunting sequence of chords, accentuated by conga drums. After two such sequences, a synth bass pattern fades in, gains strength, and blends in with the choir. This bass pattern is not unlike that heard several times in "The Fugitive", which would be made two years later. The drum kit and electric guitars jump in periodically with accentuating chords of their own. This pattern continues until the music does a complete 180 degree turn and becomes livelier, signaling the start of the slow motion TV basketball sequence.

So begins the Main Title of "Grand Canyon" by James Newton Howard, composer of such dramatic scores as "The Fugitive", "The Devil's Advocate", "A Perfect Murder", "Outbreak", and the theme from "ER."

The first time I saw the movie, I couldn't get that haunting synth bass pattern from the theme out of my head. After the second time, I was that much more determined to find this recording. Most of the cues on this album are for the more climatic action sequences in the film (the shootings, finding the baby, the dream scenes, etc.) But the album does have its bright points. The Warren Zevon song, "Searching for a Heart" is here, heard as Roberto is saying goodbye to his summer girlfriend from camp. And at the end of the album, the "Grand Canyon" theme, played triumphantly by a brass section, resounds with the knowledge that if we keep hope alive, good will forever conquer evil. A very touching album.

Reviews on other sites: (La-La Land release) 
suggested by:
Mark R. Hasan

suggested by:
Thomas Glorieux

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