All That Jazz

1 02 2008

My friends Jason and Val posed a question on their blog earlier this week. What is the tune on this commercial?

Since I never back away from an Internet search challenge, I decided to do some digging. I haven’t found out the source of the music yet, but I did find out more about the commercial and in the process uncovered a couple of cool things.

This commercial spot is entitled “Escape Average” and was produced by Acme Filmworks and directed by a guy named Dave Wasson whose bio is here and portfolio is here. The spot was nominated for best animated TV commercial for the 2007 Annual Annie Awards, which will be presented on Feb 8 in Los Angeles. The Annie Awards honor the best in animation, both movie and TV.

I had never heard of the Annie Awards, but I think it’s pretty cool. There’s a lot more animation around than I realized before I started looking around. I guess I take them a little for granted.

But even cooler, when searching for information about Escape Average, I found something that said the commercial spot was done in the style of Saul Bass, a name unknown to me. Back to google, and here’s what I found.

 Saul Bass was a graphic designer and Academy-award winning filmmaker according to his wikipedia article. He is best known for his motion picture title sequences. Check it out. On the Saul Bass Web site is his filmography. He worked with some of the best…Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorcese, Otto Preminger. Some of his films include Psycho, Seven Year Itch, Good Fellas, North by Northwest, Cape Fear.

Pretty cool stuff. Watch a few of the videos on the Web site. I’ve often wondered about those opening sequences, but never took the time to dig into the details.

Back to the music, if anyone recognizes the jazz tune on Escape Average, please let me know. It reminds me a lot of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. You can hear George playing his music here.

Fast forward to the 21st century, I happened to be watching the Matt Savage Trio performing on Letterman this week…nice jazzy sound led, believe it or not, by a 15 year old. The music also reminded me of Gershwin, but a little more hip.  Check it out.

Thanks to Tyler for liking this commercial and for Jason and Val writing about it. It’s led me on a little journey of discovery.

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