March 17, 2008
Silvestri, Warren, Holman honored by ASMAC
Arrangers' Society celebrates 70th anniversary by Jon Burlingame
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif.—Approximately 250 members of the Los Angeles music community attended Friday night's annual dinner of the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC), honoring composer Alan Silvestri, songwriter Diane Warren and arranger Bill Holman.
Actor (and sometime jazz pianist) Stacy Keach was master of ceremonies for the event, which commemorated 70 years of the arrangers' organization and was held at the Sheraton Universal Hotel. Keach said he felt like "a kid in a candy store" being surrounded by arrangers and composers of some of the 20th century's most popular music. "You are all my heroes," he said.
Comedian Mort Sahl and composer-arranger Johnny Mandel introduced three-time Grammy winner Holman. Sahl said he had known the great jazz arranger for more than half a century, back when Holman was working for bandleader Stan Kenton.
Mandel, speaking about Holman's talents, said: "He could write something with 40 choruses in it and he never lets down. It just keeps building – and he always carries a few in his hip pocket that he can throw at you when you think there isn't anything left." And to demonstrate that, Holman's 16-piece big band played "Any Dude'll Do" and "Moon of Manakoora."
Geffen Records president Ron Fair introduced six-time Oscar nominee Diane Warren, ribbing her about her quirky habits – including her skills as a "pornographic wordsmith" on her BlackBerry. Concord Records artist Jimmy Demers sang Warren's songs "Because You Loved Me" and "Just Another Night."
In a video tribute, Warren discussed the backstories of writing such movie hits as "How Do I Live" from Con Air, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" from Armageddon and "There You'll Be" from Pearl Harbor. Accepting her award, she quipped, "I feel like I'm in the principal's office at school. I didn't pay attention to my music teacher."
ASMAC president John Clayton and Walt Disney Music President Chris Montan introduced Silvestri, the composer of such popular film scores as Back to the Future, Romancing the Stone, Forrest Gump, Predator, Father of the Bride, Stuart Little, Cast Away and Night at the Museum.
Montan called him "one of the composing giants of our industry... an amazing thematic writer. Alan is a filmmaker first," he added. "He looks for the heart of the film." Montan also cited Silvestri's ongoing fundraising efforts for juvenile diabetes and his newfound career as a vintner in northern California.
Holman's band saluted Silvestri with arrangements of music from Forrest Gump and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, arranged by ASMAC members Jon Charles and Chuck Fernandez and conducted by Sylvester Rivers.
In his remarks, Silvestri singled out arranger-orchestrator William Ross for his role in "elevating what I do to a place I never thought possible," and "the amazing L.A. musicians" for breathing life into his many film scores.
©2008 Jon Burlingame