Various Artists - Whiplash - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Various Artists - Whiplash

by James Weiskittel Rating:8 Release Date:2016-02-19

As with most genres, the word 'jazz’ simply does not begin to properly convey the vast historical weight of its effect on a century’s worth of music and modern culture. And yet, while the genre enjoyed decades as the ‘people’s music’, roaring from the inner city, musically connecting people of all different races, creeds and income levels with its unique mixture of everything music had been and everything that it could possibly be, jazz is all but absent from today’s contemporary music scene. With re-releases from the legends of days gone by serving as the only real chart presence for a genre that is still teeming with new and talented artists, jazz has come full circle as a truly ‘underground’ music.

Thus, when the Jazz-centric indie film Whiplash was released in 2014, the film’s Sundance/Oscar-buzz came as a bit of a surprise to almost everyone involved with the project.  But the movie, which essentially told a classic ’coming of age’ story amid a backdrop of a modern-day conservatory, was a fantastic gem that not only gained exposure for the terrific cast (including an Oscar for J.K. Simmons), but also brought a long overdue spotlight to all things Jazz (including its place with the ‘next generation’ of players).

Now, for anyone looking to dip their toe in the proverbial ocean that is this genre, the Whiplash Soundtrack does an admirable job of providing not only the film’s brilliant score, but also a ‘mix-tape’ esque selection of a handful of standards as well; (both “Caravan” and “Whiplash” are songs that any high school ‘Jazz Band’ alumni will surely recognize).  The remainder of the soundtrack largely features original compositions from composer Justin Hurwitz, whose score does a tremendous job of essentially conveying the overall aesthetic that is mid-period Jazz via an impressively fresh serving of otherwise ‘never heard before’ originals.

For fans of the movie, the Whiplash Soundtrack (soon to be celebrated with a vinyl re-release) is a no-brainer.  And while it is a nearly impossible task to properly convey what amounts to over a hundred years worth of recorded music with a single artistic statement (Jazz is so much more than simply this movie: Miles, Trane, Fusion, Mingus, and on and on), Whiplash provides what each and every potential fan honestly needs: a place to start.

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