Today was my favorite day in ages: Spending the day at Judie Rosenman’s house interviewing Dave Grusin about his life and career in film and TV music. I’ve loved Grusin’s work since the mid-1960s and it was an honor to delve into both his history and his work process: the TV scores, the Sydney Pollack films, the Oscar for Milagro Beanfield War, you name it, we covered it. All done for the Film Music Foundation, which plans to make these video “oral histories” widely available to the public. (Best part: recalling my favorite of his TV themes, The Name of the Game, and having Dave go over to the piano and play it for me. Oh, man, it doesn’t get better than that.)
Of all the sections I’ve done for Variety on composers over the years, this is one of which I’m most proud: I flew to New York to interview John Barry on the occasion of his 75th birthday in 2008. I had always loved his music and we had become friends over the years. This is the main story, an overview of his life and career with quotes from Roger Moore, Michael Caine and David Arnold; here is a look at his invention of the spy-music genre, featuring an especially articulate Arnold; here are quotes about 10 of his greatest scores; this is a piece featuring some of his collaborators, including Sydney Pollack, Don Black, Bryan Forbes, Anthony Harvey and Barbara Broccoli; and here is a final piece that looks at his theater and TV work.