What’s the Score?

How do you embody the spirit of a man and his story in music for a documentary?

I answer this query by turning to Shakedown Mambo, trusted creative partners who have scored my last two documentaries with exceptional results. Shakedown is a two-man team, consisting of Phil Bloch (a potentate of percussion, producer and composer) and Rick Solem (keyboard wizard, composer).

We had our first project meeting yesterday, focusing on the main title theme. Our process is to discuss the qualities and characteristics of the subject and it’s narrative. Real-time composing and brainstorming has been very effective for us, with Rick on a majestic old upright piano and Phil on a hand drum, and me giving them feedback and direction until we’ve sculpted together a musical piece I think will be effective.

Music scoring is a critical component in filmmaking. It can move the story along quickly and effectively, communicating tone, emotion and underscoring the narrative. As a semi-professional musician who knows just enough to get into trouble, I’m able to connect with the composers on a musical level. On my last film, The Day the World Series Stopped, I ended up composing a piece with Rick, a duet between electric bass and piano for a very somber part of the story.

My musical journeys with Phil and Rick have been remarkable and look forward to more of the same for the Arnold Hano documentary project.

You can learn more about the magical, musical world of Shakedown Mambo here: http://www.shakedownmambo.com/

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