What a cool, vibrant and dynamic score!
Aleph Records presents the extended edition to the 1973 Kung Fu cult-classic 'Enter The Dragon'. The score appears now complete with improved sound.
Schifrin is a phenomenon. He is, maybe besides Henry Manicini, the only composer that comes to mind who was able to combine different musical styles in such an effective way not to mention his talents for rhythm and melody, characteristics he shares with the aformentioned without any doubt.
Outright in the beginning Shifrin sets the mood with percussions and an oriental flavour giving a glimpse of what is yet to come in the following 60 minutes: exciting symphonic filmmusic which combines asian idioms with classic western symphonic patterns. This mixture makes it a delightful listen.
The 'Main Titles' are simply sensational including a groovy and funky attitude. In my bold opinion one of the most engaging pieces of music Lalo Schifrin ever wrote aside the famous 'Mission Impossible' Theme. This is really fun!
The 06:20 min. piece 'Sampans and Flashbacks' is another perfect example of the quality of this score with its base line, electric guitar, horns, flute and dramatic strings with permanently shifting moods. Highly entertaining, provided that you like this kind of music of course.
As a matter of fact Schifrin had to improvise with available instruments and musicians in Hollywood, as one can read in the booklet, to create an accurate and authentic music with the movie playing in Hong Kong. He manages this in an outstanding way. Remarkable! The cues 'Han's Island' and 'The Banquet' may deliever an idea of what this is all about.
The following 'Headset Jazz' with its Fender Rhodes tunes and feedback guitar ist fabulous and reminds very much of the predominant style in Jazz in the 70's as does the only Love Theme of the score: 'The Gentle Softness'. Cool!
The main reason to buy this extended edition is the fact that even the tracks that intensify the more dramatic and suspense moments of the film, such as 'Into The Night' or 'The Human Fly', have enough stamina to entertain as a stand alone experience apart the movie. What do you expect more (from a score)? Schifrin also incorporates new motives as the music proceeds for example in 'Bamboo Birdcage'. The result is obvious: throughout the listnening session there are no boring moments!
The great music runs out with the longer action-cues 'The Big Battle' and the legendary finale 'Broken Mirrors'.
'Enter The Dragon' is an instant classic, as a movie and score and one of the best compositions of maestro Schifrin. In this newly extended version you can enjoy the complete music in a very good sound quality. The allover groovy-funky mode with a dominant brass section, base, electric guitar, perfect dosed percussions and the clever use of "ethnic" instruments delievers a highly enjoyable and entertaining score.
To be honest this is not an uncritical review just because I am fond of the composer. It has "objectively" high quality.
Have fun and enjoy this new edition!