You wouldn’t know it from his award winning scores for movies like Quiz Show, A River Runs Through It and Romeo Is Bleeding but composer Mark Isham can swing. With his score to the forthcoming film The Cooler, starring William H. Macy and Alex Baldwin, Isham finally gets to show off his jazz chops-legit jazz chops that he honed years ago as a trumpeter in sessions and performances with Pharoah Sanders and Charles Lloyd.
Isham’s score, written for a 16-piece jazz orchestra, complements The Cooler‘s sleazy Las Vegas lounge settings. In the film, Macy plays Bernie Lootz, aka “The Cooler”, a Las Vegas loser who makes a living by giving bad luck to unsuspecting gamblers at Shelly Kaplow’s (Alex Baldwin) relic Shangri-La Casino. “This is a score that embraces the classic sound of swing that personified old world Vegas,” Isham sais in a press release about the soundtrack. “I wanted to mix that with musical themes that reflect the warm and intimate relationship between the main characters.” Warmth and intimacy in a Vegas casino-who woulda thunk it?
The soundtrack also features seven jazz standards performed by some name jazz singers, and some others. Tierney Sutton, on loan from Telarc, delivers a solid rendition of “My Funny Valentine” and smoothster Bobby Caldwell channels the ghost of Frank Sinatra on “Luck Be a Lady”-to great effect. And even Diana Krall gets in on this disc, adding a sultry “I’ll String Along With You” to the mix. There’s also a version of “You’re Getting to Be a Habit With Me” sung by actor Paul Sorvino, who’s in the movie. But don’t let Soprvino’ cut scare you away from the soundtrack if it’s the first track you hear. It’s taken from a scene in the movie; it’s supposed to be bad. Scarier might be the thought of the Sinatra-associated tune “Can I Steal a Little Love” in the hands of young Joey Fatone, who sings with the boy band N’Sync, but he does alright by the song.
Here’s the track listing for The Cooler soundtrack. (* indicates original music by Mark Isham)
1. Cooler *
2. Better Life Motel/Tables on Fire *
3. Candy – Rebecca Kyler Downs
4. You’re Getting to Be a Habit With Me – Paul Sorvino
5. Shangri-La *
6. Luck Be a Lady – Bobby Caldwell
7. Amateurs *
8. Can I Steal a Little Love – Joey Fatone
9. Look in My Eyes *
10. I’ll String Along With You – Diana Krall
11. Heartbroken *
12. My Funny Valentine – Tierney Sutton
13. Almost Like Being in Love – Nick D’Egidilo
14. Leaving Las Vegas *
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If you want to learn more about the movie check out thecoolermovie.com.