Little Steven & The Interstellar Jazz Renegades – Lilyhammer The Score Vol.2: Folk, Rock, Rio, Bits And Pieces (2019)

Posted by Green on July 11, 2019
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For his starring role in Netflix’s groundbreaking first original series, “Lilyhammer,” actor/musician Steven Van Zandt explored uncharted waters as a New York mobster who flees to Norway under the witness protection program. In addition to acting in, co-writing and co-producing the acclaimed show, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer also scored the music for most of the three seasons, where just like his character, the musician best known as Little Steven of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and an accomplished solo artist who helped pioneer the rock-meets-soul sound, also delved into some terrain foreign to him: the worlds of New York jazz and Norwegian folk music. For the first time, the music from the show, which ended in 2014, has been collected together and will be released as two separate albums – Lilyhammer The Score – Volume 1: Jazz and Volume 2: Folk, Rock, Rio, Bits And Pieces – on CD, digital and 180-gram black vinyl on July 12 via Wicked Cool/UMe. Starting today, “My Kind Of Town, Van Zandt’s spin on the Frank Sinatra standard featured on Volume 1, and his Tito Puente-inspired mambo tune “Mojito” on Volume 2.

The music of “Lilyhammer” was arranged and produced by Van Zandt and recorded at his Renegade Studios in New York and at various studios in Norway while in the midst of filming. It was recorded, mixed and co-produced by Geoff Sanoff and mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering.

When Van Zandt was tasked with coming up with the music to soundtrack “Lilyhammer,” the veteran musician, songwriter and producer who had pretty much done it all in the worlds of songwriting, including dozens of albums, hundreds of songs, tracks for movies, a Broadway musical, as well as music supervision and musical direction, had never scored a television show and was up to the challenge. Knowing he wanted to create something that combined New York jazz to represent his character Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano with the Norwegian folk music of his exotic new environs, he turned to friend and fellow E Street Band member Max Weinberg for some advice on who could help him put a band together that could flawlessly execute these two disparate genres. On Weinberg’s recommendation, he enlisted GRAMMY® Award-winning pianist, arranger and orchestrator, Lee Musiker, known for his wealth of experience working with premiere artists in the jazz, classical, Broadway, and pop genres, such as Mel Tormé, Kristin Chenoweth, Wynton Marsalis, Buddy Rich and Tony Bennett, to help bring his vision to life. Together they assembled the Interstellar Jazz Renegades, a loose collective of some of NYC’s finest musicians, led by Musiker and orchestrators Stan Harrison, Raul Agraz and Adam Hochstatter.

Folk, Rock, Rio, Bits And Pieces is a wildly eclectic affair that gathers together 36 tracks from the show, ranging from short music cues to full songs spanning across a dizzying array of genres. Opening with the broadcast version of the theme song “Lilyhammer Nocturne,” the song begins as a swinging jazz tune and then deftly segues into Norwegian folk music illustrating the collision of two cultures. Van Zandt fully embraced the Nordic country and integrated traditional Norwegian folk instruments into his musical arsenal to create an authentic sound for the show which was filmed in Lillehammer, Norway and watched by nearly one fifth of its population. Highlights of the folk songs include “Revelation,” “Lillehammer Mourning” and “Baptism.” On “Toboggan Negotiation,” Van Zandt, who played guitar on all but one track on the collection, injects a hard-strummed acoustic guitar into an otherwise traditional sounding folk song, creating a unique hybrid.

The pieces span the globe and musical history, ranging from the Ennio Morricone-esque “African Dawn,” to the Eastern sounds of “Tandoori Epiphany” and “Dance of the Persian Serpent,” to the symphonic rock of “Painted Angels,” to the bluesy “Espresso Martini,” to the surf rock of “Killer Surf” and the Latin jazz and mambo of “Stevie Colada and “Mojito.” On “Out Of The Darkness,” Van Zandt revisits his 1983 song and transforms it from a stadium rock anthem into a bittersweet instrumental with a Norwegian flavor while “Favella” conjures up images of Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro. Overall it showcases both the breadth of the extraordinary and ambitious music that Van Zandt created for the show and his immense talent as a songwriter, arranger, musician and musical chameleon.

“I’m really proud of ‘Lilyhammer’ and the music I created for it,” says Van Zandt. “This was especially rewarding because it gave me the chance to finally do a score completely. This was a full commitment, I loved doing it and experimenting with sound and putting it to pictures and seeing what effect it has. It was a lot of fun, I’d love to do more of it.”

“He’s not the only one, nor the oldest, nor the richest. But Little Stevie Van Zandt might currently be the planet’s most charismatic, dedicated and visible crusader scrapping to preserve the dirty purity of Rock ‘n Roll.” (BruceSpringsteen.net)

The music of “Lilyhammer” was arranged and produced by Van Zandt and recorded at his Renegade Studios in New York and at various studios in Norway while in the midst of filming. It was recorded, mixed and co-produced by Geoff Sanoff and mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering.

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