One of my favourite and frequently viewed films is Sydney Pollack’s meticulously directed 1975 political thriller THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR, featuring Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, John Houseman and Max von Sydow. And one of the many reasons for its favouritism is the wonderful musical score by the great and prolific legendary American jazz pianist and composer Dave Grusin. It’s considered to be one of the best and most memorable spy film soundtracks of the 1970’s. Described as ‘jazzy with an R&B funk infusion, characterised by a haunting mellow jazz with heavy strings and a smooth saxophone lead.
It’s one of Dave’s many great scores, included in nearly 100 movie titles, including THE GRADUATE (1967), HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1979), THE CHAMP (1980), ON GOLDEN POND (1982), THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS (1990), HAVANA (1991), THE FIRM (1994) and countless TV productions such as COLUMBO, BARETTA, ST ELSEWHERE, and THE WILD,WILD WEST. During the 15-year period between 1979-1994 Dave received eight Academy Award nominations, winning the Oscar for Best Original Score for THE MILAGRO BEANFIELD WAR in 1989. He has been nominated for the Grammy Award 38 times, winning ten and has also received two BAFTA, two Primetime Emmys and four Golden Globe Award nominations.
He was the subject of a feature-length documentary DAVE GRUSIN: NOT ENOUGH TIME in 2018 and a person high on my list to meet and have a drawing signed. I planned to post a letter and drawing to him, but then discovered that he was a frequent performer at Ronnie Scott’s in London with one of his regular collaborators, guitarist Lee Ritenour. My timing of this revelation was less than impressive. He and Lee had just finished a four-day gig at the iconic Soho jazz club. He was, however, scheduled to return the following year, but due to the Covid pandemic and resulting lockdowns that was cancelled. Eventually he did return in July this year and I finally got to meet him, get my sketch signed and tell him in person how much I loved his work, especially the THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR score.