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  • Writer's pictureR’nR With Rylo

Spin #20 : Whiplash : OST

Musicians on Album: Score produced and orchestrated by Justin Hurwitz. Compositions by Tim Simonec. I was impressed by actor Miles Teller who played 99% of the movie on the kit after taking jazz drumming lessons

Whiplash : OST Year Released : 2015 release (movie was released in October 2014) Produced by Darren Blumenthal Label: Varese Sarabande Price Range: $55AUD+ Speed: 33 1/3 rpm Album Before : N/A Album After : N/A Further Listening : The Freedom Rider - Art Blakey (1964) LP : 1 x Black LP Mood for enjoying: This record makes me want to play more Jazz/Blues/Soul records or go out and play drums. Such a motivating film and motion picture soundtrack. Good one to have on when sipping on a cup of coffee. Track Listing:

LP Side A

Snare Liftoff (dialogue) - 0:43

Overture - 3:19

Too Hip To Retire - 3:03

Whiplash - 1:55

Fletcher's Song in Club - 1:28

Upswingin' - 2:12

Rehearsal Medley (First Nassau band rehearsal / Second Nassau band rehearsal / Studio band eavesdrop / Studio band rehearsal after breakup) - 1:34

Caravan - 9:14

Side B Good Job (dialogue) - 1:28

Practicing - 1:43

Intoit - 3:19

Accident - 5:21

Casey's Song - 1:57

Dismissed - 2:46

Drum & Drone - 1:34

Carnegie - 0.36

When I Wake - 3:50

Hug From Dad - 1:14

What's in the Sleeve ? 1 x black LP, poly sleeve and insert with images from the film

" Either you're deliberately out of tune and sabotaging my band, or you don't know you're out of tune, and that's even worse " ~ Terrence Fletcher

Welcome to Spin #20 - Whiplash : OST

Please don't be in fear of sitting down and soaking in our 20th Spin - 'Whiplash'.

I won't be like Terrence Fletcher and throw any chairs at anyone's head if you haven't heard this motion picture soundtrack. If you haven't seen this film however, make sure you do yourself a favour and get around to it as soon as possible.

I decided to listen to this motion picture soundtrack through the loungeroom set up - Sherwood Turntable (PM-9805) and Sherwood Receiver (RX-4508) with 4 x Sherwood bookshelf speakers. Whilst listening to this one I really wanted to close my eyes and pretend I was sitting in the studio, listening to the band.


Drop the Needle (of course means place the stylus nicely on your wax):

This is very exciting as this week we hit the milestone of #20 Spins! I have chosen a special record this week and also a first for us here at R'nR with Rylo, that being it is a motion picture soundtrack. 'Whiplash' came out in 2014 and starred the spectacular cast of J.K Simmons and Miles Teller as the teacher and student within the world of Jazz. The film is a perfect example of someone being pushed to their limits and at the same time growing to unbelievable heights of ability. The question is - How far should someone be pushed to achieve these heights and did the character played by J.K Simmons overstep that line?

'Whiplash' is special to me because it came at a time when I was in a different line of work and gearing up for a big wedding day in the not too distant future. When I watched this movie, it really struck a chord with me and stayed in my mind for a long time afterwards. I think it was due to a number of things happening at the time and also the fact that I was impressed so much by what Teller achieves and his work rate. Let's dive right into this one and place the stylus on the record to hear the first track, 'Snare Liftoff'.

'Snare Liftoff' is a warmup routine that helps the drummer work on technique and timing, until you get so fast that you no longer can increase. It is then followed by dialogue from the movie of Simmons. It's a good start as the snare warmup is the start of the movie and I can instantly visualise that scene of Teller warming up in a spare room of the school.

The next piece of music is called, 'Overture' and is a very upbeat song. I wish I understood a bit more about the key it is played in and tempo of this song, just by ear.

I do know that the band comprises of the following and I have put next to the instrument some of my favourite players of all time (in no particular order and by no means complete list):

-Alto Sax 1 - Charlie Parker, Lee Konitz, Cannonball Adderley, Benny Carter

-Alto Sax 2

-Tenor Sax 1 - Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, Hank Mobley, Ornette Coleman

-Tenor Sax 2

-Bari Sax - Not too sure on this instrument off top of my head.

-Trumpet 1 - Lee Morgan, Miles Davis, Kenny Dorham, Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie,

-Trumpet 2

-Trombone 1 - Not too sure on this instrument off top of my head.

-Trombone 2

-Piano - Duke Pearson, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Dave Brubeck, Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, Count Basie, Thelonious Monk

-Bass - Bob Cranshaw, Charles Mingus, Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, Oscar Pettiford, Sam Jones

-Drums - Art Blakey, Buddy Rich, Elvin Jones, Anthony Williams, Max Roach, Billy Higgins, Art Taylor, Al Harewood

This song has a big finish and is really enjoyable as a listener.

We are then treated to the bass heavy piece of music, 'Too Hip To Retire'. I like the sound of this one and the composition of Simonec is just superb. It has some sexy solo work from the bass clarinet and comprises of a lot more band members to pull this one off. Within the movie this song is played on stage at the Overbrook Jazz Competition and Teller is actually the understudy drummer at the time. Something to really put on and close your eyes too as you listen to these compositions.

The next song is the title track of the movie and record, 'Whiplash' - it only goes for 1:55 in duration but that's enough time to leave you wanting more. Such a short piece of music but strong all the way through with high energy that builds towards a big finish. The clarity on this record coming through the 4 x bookshelf speakers is superb. I'm sure that this record sounds better on bigger set-ups, but this is paradise for me right now. I remember the scene in the film where Teller is playing 'Whiplash' in the rehearsal studio and copping an absolute barrage of insults and even a chair thrown his way. "Was I rushing or was I dragging?". Such a powerful scene and iconic piece of music. I had to find this scene for you to watch - Click here for that scene of the movie.

I like the simplicity and feeling the next song gives, 'Fletcher's Song in Club'. I remember in the movie that this was the moment the student observed his teacher enjoying what they both love doing and that is to play music. You can really visualise the club setting once the sound of the piano takes control of the room. This is a musician who is comfortable with their ability and it shows at this moment. Teller sees his teacher in a new light, however outside of this setting, he reverts back to the stubborn perfectionist who wants to be the jazz band God.

'Upswingin' has come on at a bad time because our son is having a breakdown about not liking the picture on his cup that his juice has poured into. Completely disrupted the listening experience of this track but that's what happens when you have a toddler. At least he didn't grab the tonearm again like he did the other month (heart attack moment). From what I did manage to hear of 'Upswingin', it was very horn driven song and I liked it.

'Rehearsal Medley', has a few occasions in the movie where it is played and the whole title of this piece of music is actually called - 'First Nassau band rehearsal / Second Nassau band rehearsal / Studio band eavesdrop / Studio band rehearsal after breakup'. I will just refer to it as, 'Rehearsal Medley'. A cheerful number that makes you want to get up and swing dance in the loungeroom.

Side A has my favourite song on the record, 'Caravan'. This track was originally composed by Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington back in 1936 and for the movie it was arranged by John Wasson. I do have a funny story about this song. In the lead up to our wedding day, I kept having Night Kat Kiz remind me, "Rylo, when you are picking the playlists make sure that we don't accidentally walk out to that Whiplash movie soundtrack". On the day I had given the music playing duties to a friend and the playlist prior to our entrance song did indeed start with 'Caravan'. You should have seen the look on her face when the wrong playlist was selected and we heard the drumming start. Almost copped a slap across the face until she saw the horror in my eyes and instantly knew that I had not planned this. We walked out to the right song eventually and now every time I hear 'Caravan', I briefly think of that moment. This is the piece of music that it all builds up too in the movie and it is absolutely incredible.

I could listen to this piece of music on repeat and I would love to learn to play the drum section. (Although the ending is just insane, I would still like to work at it and be able to play like Miles Teller). It will be difficult to listen to Side B because this one can't be topped. Just when you think this track is coming to an end, the drumming keeps going to everyone's delight. This is the big 'F-You' from Teller to Simmons and yet you can see in the movie that Simmons (teacher) is completely impressed with the ability of his student. At one moment I swear an octopus is playing behind the kit as there is no possible explanation for how fast everything is being hit. Wow, just wow. Side A comes to an end and I lift the tonearm and place it back in the cradle in preparation of flipping the LP. Still thinking of 'Caravan' though.

If only we could afford a bigger block of land and build our very own soundproof music room, I'd buy a drumkit. It's a goal to be able to do that one day but for now I am happy listening to these great records. The start of Side B is a bit of dialogue between Simmons and Teller talking about Charlie Parker and the most harmful phrase that can be said to someone - 'Good Job'. Basically stating that if Parker was told that instead of working on his talent, he might not have ended up as successful.

Almost in response to that first bit of dialogue on Side B, you have the next piece of music, 'Practicing'. The difference between a good player and a great player is the amount of practice you put into your craft. It's a nice lead into the Stan Getz song, 'Intoit'.

'Intoit' has Getz on his Tenor Sax doing what he does best. I can't remember when this song was played in the movie, but it's such a classic piece. I like the mix of piano and sax that play off one another with the ever present drumming keeping the timing. I really enjoy albums by Getz and can't recommend them highly enough.

A pretty big scene in the movie is the harrowing car crash or 'Accident', as this number is called, where Teller is involved in one on his way to the performance. If I close my eyes whilst listening to this I can instantly hear the darkness and heartbreak. There is a fast start and some very intense drumming before a lull and droning that coincides with the the impact of the crash. Could be a bit nerve wracking for anyone who has been involved in a bad accident so listener beware. Not the easiest piece to listen too on this record but it feels necessary.

**Spoiler Alert of the Movie - Look away if you'd prefer to watch it first**.

In the film, Teller not only survives the accident but makes his way to the performance to play, covered in blood and concussed.

Side B rolls on with 'Casey's Song', which is something that I would envision coming through the ol' wireless, whilst sitting on your favourite chair in the front room of your house. Very short and sweet but highly enjoyable. With a soundtrack there doesn't have to be a flow between the songs but this song feels more uplifting after the previous song. I don't know about you but I would be very comfortable and happy with 'Casey's Song' playing in the background, as I sit on my favourite chair, many years from now.

'Dismissed' is slowly coming through the speakers with the gentle sounds of the piano. It reminds me a lot of the other musical Justin Hurwitz was involved with, La La Land (also worth checking out if you enjoyed this spin). The droning and humming comes through ever so softly and feels instantly sad when listening. I'm sure I would pick up a bit more with headphones on but I wanted our children to hear this record. They have calmed down now and seem to enjoying it a bit more.

You could almost pair the last song with this one as the piano makes way for the drummer who showcases his talents in the next song, 'Drum & Drone'. If you weren't paying attention then you would be forgiven for thinking this wasn't a new piece of music. Side B does have a hard task of topping Side A, but this one comes close.

Due to the shortness of 'Carnegie', I thought it was either the end of 'Drum & Drone' or the start of 'When I Wake'. It is so short and doesn't really add anything to the experience as a standalone piece of music.

'When I Wake', might very well be the standout track on Side B (although 'Intoit' is pretty good). The length, timing and overall happiness this song provides definitely makes Side B feel like more of a rollercoaster of emotions. It's hard to think that this piece of music is modern as it makes me feel transported back to the 50/60s.

Sometimes all anyone needs is a 'Hug From Dad' (last song on Side B and the record). Teller had been put through the absolute ringer during his quest to be core drummer. The piano plays and the soundtrack of, 'Whiplash' has now come to an end. There is enough here to like for the occasional listener and this spin did prove to be a bit more challenging than blogging about a standard studio album. I liked the challenge however and it won't be the last soundtrack that we pick here at R'nR with Rylo.

I did hear that this movie did really well for a smaller budget and won Academy Awards, BAFTA, SAG awards etc. Not bad for a movie that was shot in just over two weeks. I hope that you give this soundtrack a spin in the future and also get to watch the movie, as it is really worth your time. Check out our social pages and tell us below in the comments if you think Simmons' character went too far.

Until our next Spin, Be Kind to your drumkit and Be Kind to your Wax!

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