Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ted Kooshian: Underdog and Other Stories

Summit Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 2.4.10
Buy CD: Underdog and Other Stories

Not long ago, I reviewed an album that featured theme songs from old, avant-garde movies; the point was that much of the music designed as cinematic background was, in itself, quite worthwhile. But unless the film in question became a smash hit, these compositions seldom achieved recognition.

This album is similar, although it features the theme songs from comedies, dramas and cartoon series from both TV shows and movies. Pianist Ted Kooshian, who leads the quartet featured here, is typical of the excellent — but relatively unknown — musicians in constant demand by studios, Broadway shows and back-up bands for star concerts.

Kooshian is supported by a bassist, drummer and sax player; he also arranged all the tunes.

Those who watched lots of television, or had children who spent Saturday mornings glued to the infinity of cartoon shows, will recognize most of these songs. And even if you can't remember the titles, the melodies will strike a chord. The roster includes themes from “Underdog,” “Sanford and Son,” “Wild Wild West,” “The Odd Couple” and many more.

You'll likely be surprised by some of the composers: Quincy Jones, Dave Grusin, Neal Hefti, Duke Ellington, Henry Mancini and Burt Bacharach are among those who augmented their roles as “name” artists with these assignments.

The music is sprightly — allowing for the occasionally too-enthusiastic sax — and it's a fun trip down Memory Lane.

No comments: