Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
RCA Victor (09026 63544-2)
Release Date: 1999
Conducted by Elmer Bernstein
|1.||Your Red Wagon||2:29|
|2.||I Got Rhythm||2:44|
|4.||Chattanooga Choo Choo||2:27|
|8.||You Do Something For Me||2:20|
|9.||Zoot Suit For My Sunday Gal||3:27|
|Total Album Time:||39:35|
|by Dan Goldwasser
on December 29th, 1999
HBO Original Movies has always produced excellent films, from Citizen X to RKO 281, for example. Earlier in 1999, they released Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, a bio-pic about the singer who became the first black woman to ever receive an Best Actress nomination.
Starting out on the club circuit, the film featured a large selection of big-band and swing music. Ranging from "old classics" such as "I Got Rhythm" to "Chattanooga Choo Choo", there were also a few new swing compositions by Bill Elliott that were performed by the Bill Elliott Swing Orchestra. The tempo is always upbeat, and the energy level is quite high. While Halle Berry played Dandridge in the film, her singing voice was actually that of Wendi Williams. Her voice is absolutely amazing, and it pushed the songs up to the next possible level of existence. The original compositions by Elliott are quite enjoyable, and fit seamlessly into the album between the vocal songs.
Also included are four cues from Elmer Bernstein's soft dramatic score. These cues are completely different from the rest of the album - they are calm, dramatic, and intimate. The use of a small string ensemble and piano accentuated with a few woodwinds and limited brass stand as a testament to this intimacy. "No Song" is a rather melancholy cue, as is the piano solo "Dorothy". This is a rather depressing score, and provides a wonderful juxtaposition with the rest of the album (and fits in perfectly with the conflicting drama in the film). It was a wise move to place these cues last - to intermingle them with the big-band pieces would have devastated the pacing of the album. Released by RCA / Victor, this album runs about 40 minutes long, and is a great addition to the "swing" section of your CD collection. But I wouldn't get this for the score, as there are only six-and-a-half minutes of it.
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