About 15 years ago, I was somebody’s plus-one on an industry pass to go to a preview of Beyond the Sea, which was being shown in a really good theater with an above-average sound system. I wasn’t a particular fan of Bobby Darin or even of Kevin Spacey (for all that he is the definitive Jamie Tyrone of our generation and frankly I don’t care about anything else); actually I just wanted to find out how cheesy the production could get. Well honestly, it did start off pretty cheesily, every element that should’ve contributed some genuine worth—like, you know, the lead acting, the directing, design, (makeup! prosthesis!) etc—was utter phony bullcrapand then they struck up the soundtrack orchestra

Beyond the Sea Poster.jpg

If I could’ve exclaimed “Holy mackerel!” out loud the moment that honest gorgeous sound hit my ears I would’ve exclaimed it out loud, but you don’t do that at an industry screening (at least, if you’re low on the ladder like me). So I exclaimed it in my mind. I hadn’t heard a commitment like that coming from a track orchestra in a very long time. This was no pick-up crew, this was one tight unit, and they were hitting the musical values like nobody’s business. I vowed to remember the name of this bright new conductor-arranger—which of course I promptly forgot (There are a lot of John Wilsons in the world, as Anthony Burgess would be the first to tell you) and didn’t remember again until last May. A 2005 Grammy nominee. Available on Rhino Records, that notorious niche label, and I’ve gotta find out who at Warners moved it to that catalog.

2 thoughts on “John Wilson, The John Wilson Orchestra, and That Beyond the Sea Soundtrack (Warners, 2004)

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