The Aviator

While Howard Shore’s Golden Globe-winning score offers a masterful orchestral impression of industrialist Howard Hughes’ troubled psychic landscape, this collection of pop tunes, swing and le hot jazz musically frames the historical eras covered by Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed biopic. The director (always intimately involved in his film’s scoring and song choices) delivers a collection that’s a shrewd illusion in its own right. Vintage performances by big band icons Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw and eclectic pop, jazz and blues by the Ink Spots, Bing Crosby, Django Reinhardt and Leadbelly are interspersed with contemporary performances that seamlessly replicate the 1920s-40s aura with deceptive grace. Rufus Wainwright playfully vamps the pop mannerisms of the day on Gershwin’s “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise” and “After You’ve Gone” while sister Martha delivers a world-weary “I’ll Be Seeing You.” Elsewhere, David Johansen keeps his penchant for mugging well in check on the sprightly “Ain’t Cha Glad,” while fine contributions from Vince Giordano and The Manhattan Rhythm Kings complete the soundtrack’s time-tripping musical sleight of hand. –Jerry McCulley