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The Final Comedown (1971)

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Grant Green

The Final Comedown was Blue Note's first film soundtrack and a departure for both the label and Grant Green. True, many of Green's sessions from this period dipped into funk and R&B, but most of the tracks heard here are pensive mood pieces, conceived as the backing tracks to the blaxploitation film of the same name. As can be expected, there are a handful of cuts -- "Past, Present and Future," "Slight Fear and Terror," "Battle Scene" -- featuring things like staccato horn punches, dramatic tympani, and little in the way of instrumental soloing -- standard fare for the genre. Others, like the fantastic title track, showcase Green in a setting much more akin to his previous funk dates (Alive, etc.). Like any film score, The Final Comedown shifts moods as often as it revisits themes, so one should expect to hear a wide variety of styles held together by only a few common motifs. The most puzzling thing about this release, perhaps, is the fact that it was credited to Green at all. Wade Marcus composed and conducted every track and at least a few of them feature Green in nothing more than a supporting role. Recommended for fans of blaxploitation soundtracks and early-'70s jazz-funk. ~ Brandon Burke