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Saturday, July 26, 2008


A Raisin in the Sun
Music by Mervyn Warren
BSX Records BSXCD 8838 (US)
31 Tracks 59:45 mins

Normal service is resumed, and when I first picked up this CD I thought "Oh, a remake of the old Sidney Poitier film from 1961" but, whilst that version of Lorraine Hansberry's play was a filming of the 1959 Broadway production, this new tv film version is a filming of the award-winning Broadway revival and reunites a number of the cast, like The Cosby Show's Phylicia Rashad, Audra McDonald and Sanaa Lathan. The lead however is taken by Sean Combs, not known of course for his acting but for a successful career in music.
The music has been provided by Mervyn Warren, who first came to my attention with his fine action score to Steeel, but is apparently better known for his work in the music business as a record producer, songwriter/lyricist, arranger, pianist, vocalist and yes, composer, where he has won 5 Grammys, working with the likes of Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, Barbra Streisand, Chicago and Queen Latifah.
The film's "Main Title" is a lyrical, optimistic piano-lead theme, the first of a number of attractive tracks, often featuring the theme, like "50 Cents," "Walter's Scheme," "Big Walter," "Ruth Rejoices," "Never Stopped Loving," "New House," "New Hat" and the final title track, where the theme begins a little off kilter, before warming up to provide a suitably satisfying ending.
There is however more melancholy and even troubled fare on offer in the likes of "Still a Little Girl," "Walter Needs a Chance," "Pregnant," the lengthy "Lena's Decision," "Walter Attacks George" "Somewhere We Lost It," the dramatic "Ruth Aborts," "Lindner's Offer," "Money's All Gone," and "Nigeria."
Warren's background in jazz, among many other forms of music, stands him in good stead in "George Asks for a Date," "The Green Hat," "The Check Arrives," "Walter's Inner Turmoil," "Walter Calls Bobo," "Night on the Town," and the bluesy sax of "Ambitious."
He also contributes two songs: "I Dream of Love and You" and "Cross My Heart."
The accompanying booklet features colour stills and notes about the history of the play, this current production, and of course about the composer, who also has a few words to impart.
A very nice, melodic score then, well worthy of preservation on this limited edition of 100 units. Grab a copy from


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