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Patrick Williams: Home Suite Home

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It’s hardly surprising that composer-arranger-conductor Patrick Williams’ big-band work is so grandly cinematic; over his half-century in show business he has scored more than five-dozen films, most famously 1979’s Breaking Away, which earned him an Oscar nod. He’s also won five Emmys for his vast TV work and two Grammys, plus another 13 nominations, including one for Sinatra’s Duets, a project (with a sequel) for which Williams was hand-selected by Ol’ Blue Eyes. Williams returned the favor five years later with his sterling Sinatraland.

As is evident across the six instrumental tracks that fill most of the Grammy-nominated Home Suite Home, his influences are many. “Blue Mist,” a curvaceous tribute to Catherine, Williams’ wife of 53 years, seems a marvelous mélange of Richard Rodney Bennett, Henry Mancini, John Williams (no relation) and John Barry. The album’s midsection comprises a trio of suites, one for each of Williams’ children-Elizabeth, Greer and Patrick-jumbling hints of Tchaikovsky, Ellington, Gershwin, Billy May, legendary TV composer Earle Hagen and such noir masters as Elmer Bernstein, Max Steiner and Dimitri Tiomkin.

There are two solid tributes: “A Hefti Dose of Basie,” for Neal Hefti, which sounds a lot like a meandering interpretation of Hefti’s most celebrated Basie chart, “L’il Darlin'”; and the sly, sharp “That’s Rich,” for Buddy Rich. Three vocalists also figure into the heterogeneous mix. Tierney Sutton, winsome as ever, teams with the late Frank Sinatra Jr. on the breezy, globetrotting “I’ve Been Around,” and Patti Austin swings brightly through the peppy “52nd & Broadway.”

Originally Published