Sunday 15 December 2019

Lalo Schifrin & the London Symphony Orchestra

Lalo Schifrin & the London Symphony Orchestra

This was originally a Facebook post in 2008.

Barbican blurb

Thu 10 Apr 2008
Barbican Hall
Part of the La Linea 2008 London Latin Music Festival.

Featuring an 89-piece LSO, with 8 double basses and at least 40 violins plus LS's quartet of LS (piano), Alex Acuna (drums), James Morrison (trombone/trumpet/flugelhorn) and Pierre Boussaguet (double bass/electric bass)

A very rare London appearance as pianist and conductor for the mighty Lalo Schifrin. The Argentina born, composer, conductor and arranger has had a glittering career via the Paris Conservatory, through his own big concert band in Buenos Aires, a crucial spell as Dizzy Gillespie's pianist and arranger and through the composition of more than 100 film scores including those for Bullitt, Dirty Harry and the theme to Mission Impossible perhaps the most instantly recognisable tune in the world. Tonight¹s special programme entitled Jazz meets the Symphony puts Lalo and his soloists in front of a 89 piece symphony orchestra to explore symphonic variations on Latin Jazz and perform some of his finest compositions including The Fox, Enter the Dragon and The Dirty Harry Suite.

Jazz meets the Symphony Programme

  • LS - Chano
  • Paul Porter arr. LS - Begin the Beguin [Latin jazz version]
  • LS - Dirty Harry Suite [very varied, well put together]
  • Gil Evans arr. LS - La Nevada
  • Heitor Villa-Lobos arr. LS - Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5
  • Moises Simon arr. LS - Peanut Vendor


  • LS - The Fox
  • Aaron Copeland arr. LS - El Salon Mexico [inspired by AC's trip to Mexico]
  • LS - Around the Day in 80 Worlds
  • LS - El Dorado
  • LS - Theme from Enter the Dragon
  • Dizzie Gillespie arr. LS - Diz Fireworks
  • (medley) Night in Tunesia/Con Alma/Manteca


  • Theme from Mission Impossible
  • Esperanzo(?) [a new piece, just the quartet, including extaordinary, long, high-energy drum solo]

Points which stick in the mind

  • I wasn't entirely sure what to expect but the music was a fascinating blend of Latin, 'lounge' jazz and classical, without any one style dominating
  • LSO tuba player had a huge mute - like a mutant ice cream cone
  • JM, an Aussie, at several points played the trombone in left hand and trumpet in the right - very impressive; he got extraordinary sustained high & low notes from his instruments
  • To start off the encores, LS walked back on, sat at his piano and with his left hand started that theme, provoking a roar of recognition and approval, and was soon joined by the full orchestra.
  • Finding an event that's outside one's normal range (or comfort zone) yet hugely enjoyable is a great prize: I found that with Intergalactic Contemporary Ensemble's live performance of their I Dig album in 2001 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and found it here. Ones which weren't so good were Sparks at the Royal Festival Hall 2002 (live performance of L'il Beethoven, somewhat shambolic) and 2006's Barbican event by Jean Claude Vannier & the BBC Concert Orchestra plus guests (such as Jarvis Cocker) - Histoire de Melody Nelson & L'Enfant Assassin Des Mouches (very weird French ProgRock).


Lalo Schifrin: Dizzy, Simone de Beauvoir and me
Intergalactic Contemporary Ensemble : I Dig