Here's a post I never expected to write -- Funky Friday and Gordon Parks.
Until a couple of days ago, I would have told you that it was more likely that Barry Manilow would show up on a Friday than Gordon Parks. As much as I admire him as a photographer, writer, and filmmaker, his music has never done much for me. If you'd asked me to describe it, I'd have used words like "sappy," "sentimental," and "ersatz classical."
Well, yes. And no. Sometimes -- such as when he was forced to produce the soundtrack for Shaft's Big Score, the second of his films about the black private dick who's a sex machine with all the chicks, in only two weeks -- he came up with a real gem. Can you dig it?
Gordon Parks, Symphony for Shafted Souls. Soundtrack, Shaft's Big Score (1972).
Whatever you make of it, this music sure isn't ersatz classical.
Parks, the director, hadn't expected to write the soundtrack for the movie, but Isaac Hayes, who had won an Oscar for his work on the original Shaft, couldn't come to terms with the studio. So Parks stepped in a the last minute, knowing that he had to capture something of Hayes' magic. He did a pretty good job.
Here's what the funk and soul blog never enough rhodes has to say about Parks' effort:
Parks is an interesting composer working with great orchestrators. He takes Hayes' funk, strings and brass template, and adds in subtle, shifting woodwind textures, developing and extending the pastiche riffs -- it's a true musical "sequel" to the original Shaft.