MANILA, Philippines - Grammy Award-winning musical artist Shawn â€œJAY Zâ€ Carter has collaborated with writer/producer/director Baz Luhrmann on â€œThe Great Gatsbyâ€â€”in the capacity of Executive Producerâ€”to bring the modern â€œJazz Ageâ€ energy of F. Scott Fitzgeraldâ€™s original text to the big screen, procuring, performing, producing and arranging for a soundtrack featuring some of the worldâ€™s top musical artists.
JAY Zâ€™s contributions, woven amongst a score by long-time Luhrmann collaborator, composer Craig Armstrong, drive Gatsbyâ€™s champagne-infused dance floors, rumble in New Yorkâ€™s illegal speakeasies, and foreshadow the tragedy behind Gatsbyâ€™s â€œextraordinary gift for hope.â€ To articulate the filmâ€™s â€œ1920s-Meets-Nowâ€ sound, JAY Z also comes to â€œThe Great Gatsbyâ€ soundtrack as a performer and contributor of original music.
Luhrmann and JAY Z were introduced by Leonardo DiCaprio (Jay Gatsby), and this led to a two-year collaborative effort. During this time, JAY Z worked with Luhrmann and his team to capture, translate and contrast the feelings of Fitzgeraldâ€™s decadent era with that of our own, using hip-hop and jazz, music contemporary and period, to bring two distinct American moments to simultaneous life. They sculpted the filmâ€™s musical landscape alongside Armstrong, who worked with the director on â€œMoulin Rouge!â€ and â€œRomeo + Juliet.â€ The filmâ€™s music supervisor is Anton Monsted.
Luhrmann calls the collaboration with JAY Z â€œa credible and natural fit. Fitzgerald was a pioneer, famed and controversial for using the then-new and explosive sound called jazz in his novels and short storiesâ€”not just as decoration, but to actively tell story using the immediacy of pop culture. He coined the phrase â€˜the Jazz Age.â€™ So, the question for me in approaching Gatsby was how to elicit from our audience the same level of excitement and pop-cultural immediacy toward the world that Fitzgerald did for his audience? And in our age, the energy of jazz is caught in the energy of hip-hop. Not only is JAY Z a great artist, full stop, but I had heard that he was a great collaborator. Leonardo and I were lucky enough to be present in a recording session over two years ago as JAY Z was recording â€˜No Church in the Wild,â€™ and the collaboration grew from there.â€
JAY Z said, â€œAs soon as I spoke with Baz and Leonardo, I knew this was the right project. The Great Gatsby is that classic American story of oneâ€™s introduction to extravagance, decadence and illusion. Itâ€™s ripe for experimentation and ready to be interpreted with a modern twist. The imagination Baz brought to â€˜Moulin Rougeâ€™ made it a masterpiece, and â€˜Romeo + Julietâ€™sâ€™ score wasnâ€™t just in the background; the music became a character. This filmâ€™s vision and direction has all the makings of an epic experience.â€
â€œThe Great Gatsbyâ€ soundtrack will be released by Interscope Records.
(Opening across the Philippines on May 15, â€œThe Great Gatsbyâ€ will be distributed in IMAXÂ® 3D, Digital 3D and regular format by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.)