Sweet and Lowdown

( 3 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
Much like Sean's Penn's fictionalized jazz guitarist in Woody Allen's SWEET AND LOWDOWN, real-life jazz guitarist Howard Alden is obviously just as obsessed with the work of Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, and 1930s jazz as well. Pianist Dick Hyman -- an Allen regular -- centers his arrangements around Alden's fancy picking. He's no Django -- who is? -- but Alden's certainly one of the most sophisticated players around. Wisely, he wasn't asked to re-create Reinhardt's style, yet enough of the Belgian wizard's playing has obviously seeped into Alden's own style that he can evoke Reinhardt while remaining his own man. Hyman's charts of 1930s standards - "Shine," ...
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11/23/1999 CD Soundtrack Good Customer service is our top priority! The item or packaging may have identifying markings from its owner or show limited signs of wear. Digital ... copies may or may not be present. Read more Show Less

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CD Acceptable 2 NO ARTWORK, COMES IN NEW CASE, CD ONLY. Delicious playing from guitarist Howard Alden highlights this loving nod to '30s small-group jazz. -Rating: ... BEntertainment Weekly (02/11/2000) Read more Show Less

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
Much like Sean's Penn's fictionalized jazz guitarist in Woody Allen's SWEET AND LOWDOWN, real-life jazz guitarist Howard Alden is obviously just as obsessed with the work of Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, and 1930s jazz as well. Pianist Dick Hyman -- an Allen regular -- centers his arrangements around Alden's fancy picking. He's no Django -- who is? -- but Alden's certainly one of the most sophisticated players around. Wisely, he wasn't asked to re-create Reinhardt's style, yet enough of the Belgian wizard's playing has obviously seeped into Alden's own style that he can evoke Reinhardt while remaining his own man. Hyman's charts of 1930s standards - "Shine," "Just a Gigolo," "Limehouse Blues," "Old-Fashioned Love" -- also shy away from slavish replications of yesteryear. These attractively low-keyed, performances should call needed attention to Alden's impressive gifts. Tracks featuring 1930s jazz giants, trumpeter Bunny Berigan "Caravan" and saxophonist Sidney Bechet the hysterical marijuana ode "Viper Mad" add authenticity.
All Music Guide - Evan Cater
Looking back, it was probably only a matter of time before filmmaker Woody Allen decided to combine his professional career and his favorite hobby. In 1999 he did just that with Sweet and Lowdown, a mockumentary about a fictional jazz guitarist named Emmet Ray that gave Allen an excuse to delve into the cheerful '30s jazz with which he spends much of his free time as clarinetist for a Manhattan band. The 14 classic songs on the soundtrack, arranged and conducted by Allen's longtime musical collaborator, Dick Hyman, are as breezy and amiable as the film itself. Tunes like "I'll See You in My Dreams" and "Caravan" have a charm that's hard to resist, particularly as performed by the competent Dick Hyman Group and the obviously skilled lead guitarist Howard Alden, who provides the solos that actor Sean Penn mimes on camera as Emmet Ray. But if the soundtrack shares the movie's strengths its buoyancy and sunny charm, it also shares some of its shortcomings. Allen seems to get skittish when it comes to delving below the brassy surface of his emotionally guarded subject. The superb Penn comes close to selling Ray as a three-dimensional character, but he always seems constrained by the clumsiness of the writing. The few glimpses we get of Ray's underlying pain and vulnerability usually end up coming off as contrived. Similarly, Hyman's indefatigably perky jazz is strong on fun but weak on soul. Alden has the daunting task of providing the music for a fictional guitarist who, we are told, has the technical proficiency to be the best in the world if only his playing demonstrated more depth of feeling. It's something of a mixed compliment to say that Alden accomplishes this assignment to the letter. Both the film and the soundtrack could stand to be a little more Sweet and Lowdown and a little less Sweet and Low.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/23/1999
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 696998901926
  • Catalog Number: 89019

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Howard Alden Guitar
Bunny Berigan Track Performer
Dick Hyman Piano, Conductor
Ken Peplowski Clarinet
Bucky Pizzarelli Guitar
Sidney Bechet Track Performer
Joel Helleny Trombone
Todd Sommer Drums
Byron Stripling Trumpet
Carol Woods Vocals
Kelly Friesen Bass
Alden Howard Track Performer
Dick Hyman Group Track Performer
Technical Credits
Woody Allen Director
Dick Hyman Arranger, Recording Producer
Sidney Bechet Composer
Clarence Williams Composer
Roy Yokelson Engineer, Mastering, Recording Producer
Gerald Marks Composer
Paul Cremo Executive Producer
Jean Doumanian Executive Producer
W. Benton Overstreet Composer
Billy Higgins Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Woody Strikes Again

    Woody had me believing that Emmet Ray really existed. Loved Sean Penn's portrayal and the music was grand. I've seen Dick Hyman, Howard Alden and Bucky Pizzarelli in person, so I really enjoyed the music from this movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    WOODY ALLEN OUTDOES HIMSELF AGAIN

    Music and comic afficianado Allen has bettered his best again and made movies with a heart, soul and listenable music. Penn plays the lead part of the selfcentered cad, and the perfect match, whom I think stole the picture was the mute girlfriend. A perfect blend of music and unappreciated and later unrequited love. Woody convinced me there actually was such a person as Emmet Ray. Allen is a complete genius as well as an expert on real music.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Sean Penn brings Emmit Ray Back to Life

    I thought Sweet and Lowdown was the best film of the year. Not only was Penn's acting magnificent, the music thrilled me to my core.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews