The legendary trumpeteer talks his unparalleled career as studio musician in Hollywood and his journey with composer John Williams as principal trumpet on 40+ films between 1973 and 2011, including some of the Maestro’s most beloved scores such as Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Jurassic Park and the Indiana Jones films

Among the musicians who performed for John Williams in Los Angeles, trumpet legend Malcolm McNab has certainly a place of honour. This incredibly talented musician started to perform for the composer in 1973, playing lovely lyrical solos in the score for the film The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (directed by Richard C. Sarafian, starring Burt Reynolds and Sarah Miles). His exquisite playing immediately became a benchmark and, from that moment onward, McNab became principal trumpet for virtually all John Williams’s recordings in Los Angeles from 1973 until 2011, becoming one of the longest-serving members (if not the single longest) in his pick-up orchestra: a grand total of 46 film scores, including some of the Maestro’s most iconic works like Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, The Witches of Eastwick, Home Alone, Hook, Far and Away, Minority Report, plus several television projects (including Amazing Stories, Great Performances and the theme for the NBC Nightly News programs) and other special projects such as the live-to-picture performance of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for the film’s 20th anniversary in March 2002. He also had lovely lyrical solos in Stanley & Iris (1990).

Malcolm McNab’s career highlights don’t stop however just at his many successful collaborations with John Williams. The trumpeteer has also been the first-call principal trumpet for many other great Hollywood composers including Jerry Goldsmith, Alex North, James Horner, Randy Newman, James Newton Howard, Bruce Broughton, Michael Kamen, with many of them writing beautiful solo parts especially for him. McNab’s truly impressive list of credits includes many of Hollywood’s most famous movies of the last 45 years. His playing can be heard in hundreds of memorable soundtracks, including the Rocky series, several Star Trek movies, Pretty Woman, The Karate Kid, Spider-Man 1 and 2, The Sixth Sense, Silverado, Edward Scissorhands, Independence Day, the Lethal Weapon films, Pirates of the Caribbean, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and Pixar’s Toy Story 1, 2 and 3, Cars and Monsters, Inc., and many, many others. He can be heard as featured soloist in John Barry’s Dances With Wolves, Randy Newman’s Avalon, Jerry Goldsmith’s L.A. Confidential and The Last Castle, James Horner’s Glory, just to name a few.

In this rich, in-depth conversation, Malcolm talks about his career as studio musician legend, performing for virtually every great composer in Hollywood and performing both exquisite solos and virtuosic trumpet parts in many film scores. He talks at length about his many years performing for John Williams, from the first gig in 1973 to the success of scores like Jaws, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic Park, reflecting on the evolution of the trumpet section in Williams’s scores and the challenges of performing very difficult parts on many occasions, but also the fun and the joy of recording source music for Jaws and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. McNab also recollects his experiences with rock legend Frank Zappa, his friendship with Uan Rasey and his many collaborations with Jerry Goldsmith.

For more information visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2020/09/23/malcolm-mcnab-podcast

Legendary pianist and keyboardist recollects his impressive career as a studio musician performing in thousands of Hollywood film scores and his many collaborations with John Williams from 1969 until 2001, including his unforgettable playing on Jaws and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Very few musicians can compare to the versatile and incredibly prolific career of Ralph Grierson. A legend among studio musicians, Grierson has graced a great number of performances and recordings (including thousands of film soundtracks) thanks to his talent on a wide variety of keyboard instruments, from traditional piano and harpsichord to the most advanced synthesizers, playing across genres and styles including classical music, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, contemporary and avant-garde.

Born near Vancouver, Canada, Grierson began studying music since a very young age. In 1968 he settled in Los Angeles, establishing parallel careers as a studio musician for TV and film (playing all the electronic keyboard instruments and also piano, organ, and harpsichord) and as an interpreter of contemporary music. With Michael Tilson Thomas he made the first recording of Stravinsky's own four-hand piano reduction of The Rite of Spring

Grierson also appeared on a handful of Grammy-nominated albums: Palm Leaf Rag, and the follow-up album, Magnetic Rag, both with the Southland Stingers (a group formed by some of the finest Hollywood studio musicians conducted by) and both containing music by Scott Joplin; and ‘S Wonderful, a collection of George Gershwin’s tunes for piano duet performed together with Artie Kane (a legendary studio musician himself who often performed for John Williams).

He first worked with John Williams on The Reivers (1969), a score that would then became the Maestro’s first Academy Award nomination as Best Original Score—and the work that would pick the attention of a then-very young up-and-coming director named Steven Spielberg. From that moment, Grierson worked on almost every John Williams score recorded in Los Angeles until 2001, a total number of 46 scores. He can be heard playing in iconic scores such as Jaws and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial—he’s the pianist on the unforgettable piano solo heard in the film’s end credits.

rierson performed piano, synthesizer and keyboards in many other classic scores by the Maestro including The Cowboys, The Towering Inferno, Family Plot, 1941, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Witches of Eastwick, The Accidental Tourist, Always, Stanley and Iris, Home Alone, just to name a few (often performing in a keyboard section that included other legendary talents such as Artie Kane, Mike Lang, Clare Fischer, Chet Swiatkowski and Ian Underwood).

Over the course of his 30+ years career as studio musician, Grierson performed on literally thousands of film and television scores, playing for every top Hollywood film composers and includes some of cinema’s biggest hits such as E.T., Titanic, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, The Matrix. Ralph also appeared as the piano soloist (both on screen and on the soundtrack recording) in the segment of "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin in Disney’s Fantasia 2000

n this wide-ranging, in-depth candid conversation, Ralph talks about his incredible life and career as studio musician in Hollywood and his collaborations with John Williams on many film scores as pianist and keyboardist, recalling his work on Jaws and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Ralph also recalls some of his other career’s highlights, including his work with the late James Horner and his soloist work for Disney’s Fantasia 2000. He also opens up about the career-altering injury he faced in 2002 and how his life changed since then. 

For more information and the list of musical excerpts featured in the episode visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2020/08/26/ralph-grierson-podcast/

Legendary flutist discusses his life as a studio musician recording hundreds of film and television scores over 30+ years, including his many collaborations with John Williams in scores such as The River, Jurassic Park and Memoirs of a Geisha

Jim Walker is one of the most talented and celebrated flutist of our times. From classical to jazz to television and film to the concert hall, Walker has brilliantly showcased his incredible musicianship for 50+ years.

In his incredibly prolific career as a studio musician, Jim Walker has performed in hundreds of film and television scores. His first major prominent part was assigned to him by John Williams in 1984—the composer picked Walker as soloist for the Academy Award-nominated score of The River, directed by Mark Rydell and starring Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek. Since then, he's been part of the flute section in virtually all of John Williams’s recordings in Los Angeles until 2008, including some of Williams’s biggest hits such as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Home Alone, Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List. Walker can also also be heard as soloist/1st flute in scores such as Amistad, The Patriot, Catch Me If You Can and Memoirs of a Geisha.

His versatility and incredible dexterity was appreciated by some of Hollywood’s top film composers including Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Elmer Bernstein, Randy Newman, Danny Elfman, Alan Silvestri, and his playing can be heard in box office hits such as Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, Titanic, Finding Nemo, but also beloved classics like Awakenings, Edward Scissorhands, Cocoon.

In this in-depth conversation, Jim talks about his musical life, from his upbringing in Kentucky to his arrival in Los Angeles as the Principal Flute of the LA Phil and his work as a studio musician for films and television scores. He talks extensively about his many collaborations with John Williams, including his soloist work on The River and Memoirs of a Geisha, but also the very challenging parts he had to perform in scores such as Hook and Jurassic Park, offering his own detailed look on Williams’s music as seen from the performer’s unique point of view.

For more information and the full list of musical excerpts featured in the episode, visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2020/08/07/jim-walker-podcast

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