Varèse Sarabande Records will celebrate composer Elmer Bernstein with the release Elmer Bernstein: The Wild Side available digitally and on CD December 9, 2014. This special recording focuses on the jazz and big band scores from the acclaimed composer, from such films as The Man with the Golden Arm, Johnny Staccato, Devil in a Blue Dress, and Walk on the Wild Side.
"This is an album I have been dreaming about for years," said producer Robert Townson. He would first work with Bernstein in 1989 on My Left Foot. "It was when we were in Scotland in 1997 to record some of Elmer's older scores that we first started talking about an album that would present new recordings of his classic jazz film scores."
The opportunity to celebrate Bernstein's jazz side, however, wouldn't happen until years later when Townson produced a concert of this material in Tenerife, Spain as part of the 2013 Fimucité festival. The concert was performed by the Big Band de Canarias, was conducted by Kike Perdomo, and featured guest performers Esther Ovejero (vocals) and Sara Andon (flute). Varèse Sarabande Records and producer Robert Townson brought this group together again in the studio this year to record this special celebration of Bernstein's jazz works.
"Elmer wrote a lot of jazz music," explained Townson. "Sometimes setting the majority of full scores in the idiom, as he did with The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), Walk on the Wild Side (1962), and Sweet Smell of Success (1957). Sometimes only a few cues in an otherwise symphonic score like Some Came Running (1957) or The Caretakers (1963)would allow him to swing."