The Dave Grusin Archive
Two For The Road

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GRP - GRD 9865


Peter Gunn  (4:41)
Dreamsville  (4:38)
Mr. Lucky  (4:23)
Moment To Moment  (4:10)
Baby Elephant Walk  (3:57)
Two For The Road  (5:33)
Days Of Wine And Roses  (5:33)
Hatari  (4:56)
Whistling Away The Dark  (4:54)
Soldier In The Rain (4:56)


Gary Grant  (trumpet), Dan Higgins (saxophone), Diana Krall (vocals), Russell Malone (guitar), Eric Marienthal (saxophone), Andy Martin (trombone),
Harvey Mason, Sr. (drums), Tollak Ollestad (harmonica), John Patitucci (bass), Tom Scott (saxophone)

Arranged by Dave Grusin
Produced by Tommy LiPuma

This record is all about chemistry.  The melodic gift of Henry Mancini, his warmth as a person and the way Dave Grusin has put together a selection of Mancini tunes which are of personal importance to him.  All that has gone into the mix, and the result is ten tracks which evoke  the great songwriter as effortlessly as only an artist like Dave Grusin can.

Here is finesse and charm, but also feeling and understanding.  Many have explored the music of Henry Mancini, but Dave Grusin gives us a unique sense of spontaneity mixed with loving care, so that each song exudes both effortlessness and perfection.

We are swept away on a magic carpet from the opening notes of the pulsating beat of the “Peter Gunn” theme, drawn in to a cool session which says to admirers of Dave Grusin's early piano styling, `the man is still there, he's just been in hiding.”  

This is the gifted pianist who arrived to  treat us to jazz improvisations of the Broadway musical “Subways Are For Sleeping” nearly four decades earlier.  Fans can only hope there might be at least one more recording like this from Dave Grusin (but subsequently, he has left us wishing, with only another big-band album - West Side Story - and a new venture into classical music with jazz overtones, "Two Worlds").

Many critics have remarked on the choice of songs on this record, generally lauding some of the more unusual selections, and praising the exclusion of Mancini's greatest hit, “Moon River.”  If you're looking for a post-Andy Williams arrangement of the song, you'll have to check out the Herb Alpert album “Here Come The Brass.”  Iconoclastic might be the best description.

But on “Two For The Road,” the treatments are all respect and admiration; even more, friendship, as film scorer Hank Mancini was very much a creative influence in Dave Grusin's early career as a composer for the screen.  And every track on this album conveys how masterful Mancini was with a melody.

Meanwhile, read comments from ALL ABOUT JAZZ critic Dave Hughes on this recording:

“What can you say about Dave Grusin that hasn't already been said? He's quite simply one of the most universally talented musicians alive today. He's done it all: pianist, composer, arranger, producer, label owner, soundtrack scorer. Unfortunately, with all his other commitments and undertakings, Dave Grusin albums have become fewer and farther between.

This new one is worth the wait! In keeping with the format of two previous albums, this one is a tribute album to Henry Mancini. (The previous two tributes were to George Gershwin and Duke Ellington.) Mancini and Grusin actually had a lot in common in terms of musical expertise and styles, with Mancini being primarily known as a soundtrack composer and pianist, but only secondarily as a jazz artist.

Grusin's performance on this album, both as a player and an arranger, illustrates better than ever what Grusin possesses that so few others do. It's not just his considerable playing and arranging talents. It's class. Good taste. Subtlety and flair. The ability to remain true to the original intent of the song, but inject new touches (such as alternate chord voicings) that raise the song to a new level. Every arrangement seems like it was a labor of love, borne out of genuine respect for Henry Mancini.

As usual, Grusin surrounds himself with top talent, such as John Patitucci, Harvey Mason, Tom Scott, and Paulinho DaCosta. Diana Krall contributes two smoky vocal performances on "Dreamsville" and the beautiful but rarely heard "Soldier in the Rain." "Days of Wine and Roses" finds Grusin soloing particularly brilliantly. Even "Peter Gunn" and "Baby Elephant Walk," nearly dead from over-exposure, get a new lease on life thanks to altered chords and updated rhythms.”

-- Dave Hughes

Reproduced with the kind permission of the author


Hear samples of tracks from this album and purchase it.  Click the cover image at the left, and just type “Dave Grusin” or the specific title into the search box.

Go to:  "Dave Grusin Presents West Side Story"  

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