"Starz' Original Series: Magic City"
Music By Daniele Luppi & Various Artists
Silva Screen Records
Disc 1= (The Songs):
11 Tracks/Disc Time: 43:41
Disc 2 = (The Score):
19 Tracks/Disc Time: 37:32
Disc 1= Grade: B+ Disc 2 = Grade: B-
Magic City is the Starz' Channel's hit series created by writer and former journalist and Miami native Mitch Glazer (Scrooged, Passion Play, SNL) that takes place during the 1950's Miami. Frank Sinatra rings in a new year in the grand ballroom of Miami Beach's most luxurious dream palace "The Miramar Hotel" Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan),the hotel's visionary leader who must deal with the Mob and its charismatic head, Ben Diamond (Danny Huston), his complicated family led by his beautiful wife Vera (Olga Kurlenkyko) and a city in the midst of dramatic change as Fidel Castro takes control of Cuba not far offshore. By day the hotel at the center of 'Magic City' is all diving clown acts and cha-cha lessons by the pool, but at night Miami Beach reveals a darker truth. Dopers, dealers, strippers, gangsters and those who arrest them drift together to hear the top nightclub acts perform. Just beneath the surface, racial tensions stir. Ike must deal with all of this, even while global intrigue is brewing right under Ike's roof. Originally, Glazer had intended the series to be a feature film but since he had plenty of material from the stories he had heard while living there.
With a series rich and diverse within its locale, the music would absolutely play a major factor in establishing the mood and atmosphere as well as time period. The 50's were really rich musically and Silva Screen's first disc for this soundtrack features an amazing number of talents ranging from classic songs such as "Chances Are" sung with timeless beauty by Julie Monroe, the unforgettable (and often overused) "Venus" by Frankie Avalon, the indelable voice of the legendary Ray Charles with "Moon Over Miami" and the hip and cool blues tune, "I'm A Man" by Bo Diddley. The album also features some nice Latin material that emphasizes the Afro-Cuban side of the city with "Mambo Gallego" by the late jazz legend Tito Puente and Lee Morgan's memorable jazz tune "The Sidewinder". The album features a newly recorded and wonderful vocal of "Tenderly" by Patti Austin which is amazing and heartfelt.
Disc Two of this very solid set, features the series original music by composer Daniele Luppi, which really keeps up with the pre-recorded music used on the show and is really solid on its own right. Luppi's score has an Afro-Cuban edge to it, but it also very dramatic as he introduces us into the world of "Magic City" with its rapturious, and alluring "Magic City Opening Theme" which is hip and cool that has a hint of Henry Mancini in it. The rest the music does have of Mancini inspiration going for it but Luppi definitely retains his own voice to the material and plays it straight with seriousness that includes tracks such as "The Pressure Of Power", "Facing The Abyss", "Young Lovers", and "A Trickle Of Blood" which all evoke a musical melodramatic style evoking the period. There's also plenty of this material to go around on this album such as "Dangerous Water Games", "A Tide Of Violence" and "A Brother's Love Theme" which are also very solid and there are wonderful dramatic readings throughout the material contained here. Luppi does an excellent job executing the material to fit the series perfectly and that's why I enjoyed most about it. Fans of this type of score will really enjoy it and fans of the series will absolutely eat it up without a doubt. It's also an album that even the most causal listener will enjoy featuring some of the finest music from the shows' respective time period.
Magic City is a fine soundtrack album and one that really does have great moments both on the pre-recorded music side and the original score side. Silva Screen has graciously put together a set that fans of the show will love and rightfully so because there is plenty to savor here and to enjoy. I know I did. Recommended.