Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2022 July 11 • Monday

This compilation of Jerry Van Rooyen film music, At 250 Miles Per Hour, is the 734th Soundtrack of the Week.

It starts with “Sax Hunt” from the movie How Short Is the Time for Love, which has keeping an almost constant roll on the snare drum while horns and strings come stabbing and blasting out. There are a couple of pockets where the band gets to take a quick breather.

A powerful break beat sets up Hammond organ with the rest of the band for “The Great Bank Robbery”, also from How Short Is the Time for Love. In addition to the great organ playing there’s also some excellent saxophone soloing.

The title track, “At 250 Miles Per Hour”, another one from How Short Is the Time for Love, is a brisk swing number with a big band-era arrangement blended with Mancini-esque strings and modern organ and sax soloing.

Next is “New York Is in China” from Necronomicon/Succubus, a “Harlem Nocturne”-ish piece at first, before unexpectedly becoming a swinging jazz piano trio number. Then a bit for strings is thrown into the mix too.

A very odd organ sound establishes the main flavor of the short and somewhat menacing “Little Mean Men” from Death on a Rainy Day. It’s a simple but strong piece that gets a lot of force out of a small ensemble.

Then it’s back to the fast swing of “Death Walks in High Heels” from Necronomicon/Succubus. The horns join in and there are solos from alto sax, trumpet, bass and drums.

“Paris from a Helicopter View” takes us back to Death on a Rainy Day and some very interesting electric guitar work, using what sounds like two electric guitars playing intertwining single-note lines for an ear-catching rhythmic element. Then the strings come soaring in for a Maurice Jarre-like melodic idea.

Ethereal wordless female vocals are the primary voice for "l"Pin Stripes & Machine Gun”, also from Death on a Rainy Day. It has a definite Morricone feel to it and is a lovely cue.

Particularly buoyant bass work kicks off “In Front of the Fire Place”, kind of like West Coast soul lounge jazz with lots of flute playing. This one is from How Short Is the Time for Love and also has great organ playing.

Then it’s back to Necronomicon/Succubus for “Lisbon Sidewalks” and a jazzy tune that mixes together samba and swing and features great trumpet and tenor soloing.

“Skyscrapers Galore” from Death on a Rainy Day begins with the strings playing the Jarre-ish bit from “Paris from a Helicopter View”, then introduces a perky ‘60s-ish loungey version of it.

Swing blues for piano with support from horns is what happens in when “Fabienne Is Going Wild”, a short but cool number. From How Short Is the Time for Love.

A bossa nova was inevitable and here it is for “Racedriver in Love” from How Short Is the Time for Love. Like the tune before it, it’s very short but satisfying. This one is a nice trumpet feature as well.

Even shorter, less than a minute, is “Oxtail Castle” from The Vampire Happening. It alternates between an eerie wordless wailing and a jazz waltz.

“The Outskirts of Town” is a brisk jazz swing tune for organ combo with trumpet and sax solos from How Short Is the Time for Love.

Then it’s back to The Vampire Happening for “Transylvanian Knights” for a bluesy loungey number with brushes on snare and what sounds like clavinet or electric harpsichord getting a feature. There’s also really nice trombone playing.

After that we get kind of a lounge mystery bossa nova in a Mancini vein, for “Lullaby in Red” from How Short Is the Time for Love. The string sound is particularly strong and the piano provides support.

Finally it concludes with “Sundown” from The Vampire Happening, a nine-and-a-half minute suite of cues heavy on the organ with groovy rock/pop sections, drum breaks, cathedral-like atmospheres, percussion freak outs and a groovy atmosphere throughout.