IT would be handy to have some free time after hearing Joe Chindamo‘s album of Coen Brothers film music, because it will almost certainly have you revisiting the films. But the absence of a moving image is no obstacle, freeing Chindamo’s arrangements from expansive requirements of the big screen.
The Fargo theme, on solo piano, suggests so much — the dead quiet of snow, sadness, beauty, emptiness and inevitability. The Miller’s Crossing theme — on piano, Doug De Vries‘s guitar and Nigel MacLean‘s violin — adds definition, clarity and emotion to the original.
Lujon (The Big Lebowski) — with Chindamo also on accordion, and adding Lucky Oceans on pedal steel, Philip Rex on bass, Rajiv Jayaweera on drums and Alex Pertout on percussion — is enhanced by fragility.
What a pleasure it is to hear the wonderfully jaunty, rollicking and deft bluegrass of the Raising Arizona theme, or the slow interpretation of You Are My Sunshine (O Brother, Where Art Thou) combining the resonance of pedal steel with the reverence of accordion.
With Oceans on dobro, Hotel California develops some gentle swing, but for a real swinging number wait for the lightly crafted Man of Constant Sorrow to take off and run.
Chindamo’s ensemble takes us to another delightful place for some considerable time.
File between: Ry Cooder, Paul Grabowsky.
Download: Miller’s Crossing.
Review also published in Sunday Herald Sun on June 13, 2010