Smart! “Bottle Rocket” may already have itself a soundtrack disc (composed by Mark Mothersbaugh naturally; though it’s missing a lot of good cuts from the film), but the folks at Fantasy Records have wisely capitalized on the popularity of the recent Criterion Collection edition of the Wes Anderson-directed “Bottle Rocket” film and are releasing a soundtrack to the original 13-minute short film to coincide with that DVD release, digitally on December 9.
The little-seen 1994 short inspired the full feature-length film (’96), and is highlighted in the two-disc Criterion set (which we poured over to loser-ish levels).
Unlike the classic rock Anderson is known for and utilizes in many of his films, the short, is filled with jazz classics, including two songs from his beloved Charlie Brown/Peanuts composer Vince Guaraldi (who doesn’t love A Charlie Brown Christmas, really?). While no tracklist exists yet, there are only eight songs in the short.
They include (and in the order that they appear in the short):
– “The Chant” – Artie Shaw
– “Old Devil Moon” – Sonny Rollins
– “The Route” – Chet Baker
– “Skating” – Vince Guaraldi
– “Stevie” – Duke Ellington and John Coltrane
– “Nothing But The Soul” – Art Blakey
– “Happiness Is” – Vince Guaraldi
– “Jane-O” – Zoot Sims Quartet
(here’s the film’s music credits if you want to see them and sound clips below)
“I was listening to a lot of jazz at the time, especially Coltrane’s albums on Blue Note and Sonny Rollins’ A Night at the Village Vanguard,” Anderson said in a press release. “I was inspired by the use of American jazz in French new wave movies like ‘Breathless.’ I still love this music.”
For years many have speculated that the very element holding back the release of the much-coveted short was the music clearances, but with even picky bastards like The Beatles giving their songs to video games, clearly its getting easier these days and those walls are breaking down. It probably didn’t hurt that music supervisor extraordinaire Randall Poster worked on this thing too (he’s worked on every Anderson project).
“He seemed to take the outlaw nature of these jazz musicians and apply it to the would-be rebels in the film,” Poster said. “Since then, our careers have been linked. So this kind of takes us back to the roots of that relationship. We wanted to make the music available to fans of our work. Wes is so well-known for the music in his movies, and this is the starting point. You can hear the seeds of that kind of musical creativity on this album.”
It’s true the seeds were sewn. Vince Guaraldi Xmas music is featured in both “Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenebaums,” (not to mention Mothersbaugh’s score material always uses Christmas sleigh bells), Zoot Sims pops up in “Rushmore” and frantic Art Blakey-like drum solos by Mothersbaugh’s musicians appears in almost all the Anderson films.
It’s interesting to note that Anderson says the studio didn’t want him to use jazz in the feature length version. “We didn’t license a lot of this music at the time because we couldn’t afford it.”
We already covered the music of the Bottle Rocket short and the feature-length film as well, but here’s some of the clips that will be on the Bottle Rocket Short Film Soundtrack including the wonderful use of “Skating” in the short.