Related Composers

Dave Grusin - Film, TV, Love Themes or the Blues

Simon and Garfunkel and Dave Grusin - The Graduate soundtrack CD cover Dave Grusin is another of those composers who have done a bit of everything, including film scores from every genre and TV music too. Ultimately it may be from the latter genre that he is best known with that well-played theme from St. Elsewhere. His music generally is very lyrical, with memorable melodies in a variety of styles. In the film arena Grusin's big break was undoubtedly "The Graduate". Although the soundtrack is generally remembered for its songs by Paul Simon, Grusin acquits himself well by filling the gaps with a variety of dance band tunes. Since that time Grusin has developed something of a reputation for gentle love themes on the one hand, and relaxed blues and jazz on the other. Examples of his gentle love themes include the music for "Heaven can Wait" and "On Golden Pond". For "The Firm" Grusin produced a striking bluesy band sound, while one of his more recent soundtracks is the sad romantic movie "Random Hearts". Here Grusin creates a pervasive slow mellow jazz mood, employing bass, piano, trumpet, flute and others, with typically only one or two instruments playing a time.

In "The Fabulous Baker Boys", although Michelle Pfeiffer sang the songs for her character, Beau and Jeff Bridges didn't actually play the piano parts. Instead, Grusin was videotaped playing those parts and the brothers studied and practiced those tapes until they could copy his hand movements. This is a superb film with great acting and Grusin's jazz music cements the prevailing mood.

Dave Grusin - The Goonies 25th anniversary soundtrack CD cover Since he is mainly known for his relaxed jazz-influenced music, his score for "The Goonies" is surprisingly out of character. However its infectious excitement brings to mind the action-oriented Swashbucklers from the Golden age of film music. This and the teenage audience that the film was aimed at, has resulted in a cult-following for the Speilberg-produced movie and its music score. The campaign for a CD release has now been heard, and the Varese-Sarabande label has now released the long-awaited soundtrack - coinciding with the film's 25th anniversary and Dave Grusin's 75th birthday - available from in the US.

Films by Dave Grusin:

    Dave Grusin: Random Hearts - film score album cover
  • The Graduate - though easy to forget among the songs from Simon and Garfunkel
  • The Pursuit of Happiness
  • Three Days of the Condor - there's some moody music but most tracks are surprisingly relaxed
  • The Front
  • Lucas - a synth-based score
  • Heaven Can Wait - with a memorable love-theme
  • Murder by Death
  • ...And Justice for All
  • Absence of Malice
  • On Golden Pond - with more gentle romantic music
  • Reds - contributions by Grusin and by Stephen Sondheim
  • Author! Author!
  • Tootsie
  • The Goonies - an excellent score with a cult following which was the subject of a successful campaign for a soundtrack release, see
  • The Milgrano Beanfield
  • Tequila Sunrise
  • A Dry White Season
  • The Fabulous Baker Boys - some wonderful jazz in Grusin's underscore
  • Bonfire of the Vanities
  • Look Who's Talking Too
  • Havana
  • The Firm - the main title has a driving 12/8 blues beat, the rest of the score consists of a lot of blues and laid back jazz, with a few songs by other composers
  • Mullholland Falls
  • Random Hearts - slow mellow jazz occasionally breaking into a lighter mood
  • Even Money

TV music by Dave Grusin:

    Dave Grusin: The Firm - piano sheet music book cover
  • St. Elsewhere - easily recognisable theme
  • Baretta's Theme - theme "keep your eye on the sparrow"
  • It Takes a Thief - a syncopated waltz theme
  • Name of the Game - the theme is in the unusual time signature of 4/4-3/4
  • The Girl from Uncle - following in the footsteps of Jerry Goldsmith who scored "The Man from Uncle", Grusin's work on this series consisted of a lot of relaxed light jazz tracks, similar to a Henry Mancini soundtrack
  • In the Gloaming - TV movie
  • Hope - TV movie theme
  • Dinner with Friends - TV movie
  • Recount - TV movie with all star cast, based on the 2000 presidential election
  • Harmony - TV movie

Dave Grusin - Recommendations:

For selected recommendations from the musical output of Dave Grusin see the following:

Dave Grusin - Memorabilia:

Here are some CD covers signed by Dave Grusin. Our thanks to Petr Kocanda for permission to use his collection of autographed CDs. Click on any thumbnail below to see the image full size in a separate window.

Dave Grusin: A Dry White Season - signed CD Dave Grusin: Author! Author! - signed CD Dave Grusin: Bonfire of the Vanities - signed CD Dave Grusin: Mulholland Falls - signed CD Dave Grusin: The Goonies - signed CD