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Frank and Jesee (Soundtrack) by Mark McKenzie

Tracksounds Rating = 7/10

Frank and Jesee (Soundtrack) by Mark McKenzie

Composed by Mark McKenzie
Performed by Uncredited Orchestra
Released by Intrada 1994

Track Title Time Rating McKenzie West
by Christopher Coleman

Keeping the tradition of the great American Western film, Mark McKenzie tells a beautiful story through his score for Frank and Jesse.  It is no wonder Mark McKenzie has become the talk of 1999 with his score for Durango, but his talent surely manifested itself at least five years ago with this work. Although this was only McKenzie’s third score for a feature film, most film music fans have heard his orchestrations in Batman Returns, Dances with Wolves and City Slickers.  McKenzie has a great ability to weave very tender melodies with intense action cues.  In this score, he attempts to capture the adventure, danger, and heroism of the old west and does so brilliantly.

Similar to Durango, this CD release by Intrada begins with a wonderful suite.  It entails healthy portions of the scores best moments.   McKenzie utilizes many authentic instruments from the west or south: recorder, harmonica and others, which help pull the listener right into the era.  The Main Titles start as simple as the 19th century west was but soon works its way into a very heroic theme.  This theme provides the backbone for rest of the score.  The main theme reflects an era just beginning to get over the civil war, but also it depicts the purity of brotherly love.

After listening to this score several times, it is easy to see why Mark McKenzie was chosen to score Dragonheart 2.  He certainly shares many musical styles with the composer of the original Dragonheart, Randy Edelman.  He shares the ability to craft beautiful and memorable themes.  Tracks such as Family Moments and Frank’s Despair bare a striking similarity to the gentle portions of Edelman’s Gettysburg score.  Both of these tracks employ the recorder and guitar in a simple “down home” melody.  Such tracks make for an interesting contrast with the other, more aggressive tracks.

There a number of very good tracks on this CD.  Aside from those already mentioned, track 7, Marauding, is a high-spirited, daring piece.  Northfield Battle, track 13, continues the theme found in track 7, but escalates the intensity by a degree or two by slowing down the tempo and by the addition of strong brass and string accents.  In a wonderful way there are very subtle hints here that bring back memories of my all time favorite score for a Western, The Magnificent Seven by Elmer Bernstein.

Mark McKenzie further demonstrates his diversity and passion for creating authentic period scores with Frank and Jesse.  While it doesn't quite match the overall listenability of Durango or The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca, it is a well crafted score and worthy of any film music fan's attention.

From the Liner Notes:

In my musical underscore to Frank and Jesse I tried to achieve a warmth and intimacy as well as an epic grandeur.  To underscore the close relationship of the two brothers, I used predominantly a small group of five authentic 19th century instruments: recorder, harmonica, guitar, jug and a crude percussion instrument called an Arched String Wire.  The symphony orchestra was utilized to express the exciting and tragic drama in the legendary lives of the James gang.  Mark McKenzie


Frank and Jesse Suite



Main Title



Family Moments


4 Gentle Spirits 2:43 ***

Tragedy at Home



Meet the James Gang






Daring Escape



Frank's Despair



The Peace Ranch



Mountain Top Dance


12 The Lord is Callin' You 0:44 **

Northfield Battle


14 I Play Not Marches 2:36 ***
15 Goodbye Jesse 5:08 ****
16 Justice Will Be Served 2:15 **
  Total Playing Time 38:45    



Film Continuity 7  
Originality 7  
CD Length 7  
Track Order 8  
Performance 7  
Final Score 7  

Other reviews:

Have something to say about this score?  If you would like to contribute please e-mail me your thoughts.  Keep in mind I am limited on space here so I can't publish everyone's comments...but do send them!  

Mark McKenzie
Mark McKenzie

Frank and Jesee (Soundtrack) by Mark McKenzie

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Frank and Jesee (Soundtrack) by Mark McKenzie

All artwork from The Avengers is exclusive property of Varese Sarabande (c) 1998.  Its appearance is for imformational purposes only.


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