This music producer and arranger has worked extensively in the recording business and on TV, but his most recent high-profile work has been on two jazzy Robert Altman films, "Short Cuts" and "Kansas C...
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
|Luck, Trust & Ketchup: Robert Altman in Carver Country||1993 1992 - 1993||Actor||Himself||19937|
|American Flash Cards||1991 1990 - 1991||Producer||("Thanksgiving Prayer")||3|
|Live From the House of Blues||1995 1993 - 1995||Music||music consultant||1|
|Heavy Petting||1989||Music||music consultant||1|
|Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey||1995||Music||n/a||1|
|Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes All-Star 50th Anniversary||1985 1984 - 1985||Music Supervisor||n/a||1|
|Saturday Night Live||2013 1974 - 2013||Music||Sketch Music Adaptations||1|
|Superman's 50th Anniversary: A Celebration of the Man of Steel||1987 1986 - 1987||Music||n/a||1|
|Michelob Presents Sunday Night||1988 1987 - 1988||Music Producer||(from 1989)||1|
|Live From the House of Blues||1995 1993 - 1995||Music||n/a||1|
|Saturday Night Live Primetime Extra II||2000 1999 - 2000||Music||sketch music adaptation||1|
|Punch & Judy Get Divorced||1991 1990 - 1991||Music Producer||n/a||1|
|Saturday Night Live: Mothers' Day Special||2000 1999 - 2000||Music||sketch music adaptations||1|
|The 2nd Annual Saturday Night Live Mother's Day Special||1992 1991 - 1992||Music||sketch music adaptations||1|
|Night of the Living Duck||1987||Music Coordinator||n/a||1|
|Saturday Night Live: 25th Anniversary Primetime Special||1999 1998 - 1999||Music||sketch music adaptations||1|
|For Ellen||2012||Music||Music Consultant||1|
|Casa De Mi Padre||2012||Music Supervisor||n/a||1|
|Lou Reed's Berlin||2008||Music Producer||n/a||1|
|Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday||2012 2007 - 2012||Music||Sketch Music(Adaptations)||1|
|Encyclopedia||1988 1987 - 1988||Music Producer||n/a||1|
|The Music of Kurt Weill: September Songs||1994 1993 - 1994||Music Supervisor||n/a||1|
|Dark Matter||2008||Music Supervisor||n/a||1|
|Finding Forrester||2000||Music Supervisor||n/a||1|
|Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby||2006||Music Supervisor||n/a||1|
|Finding Forrester||2000||Original Score||original score producer||1|
|Step Brothers||2008||Music Supervisor||n/a||1|
|The Valiant Little Tailor: An Animated Special From the "Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales For Every Child" Series||2000 1999 - 2000||Music Supervisor||(Deep Creek Productions)||1|
|Kansas City||1996||Music Producer||n/a||1|
|Bad Influence||1990||Song||song producer("He Got What He Wanted")||1|
|The Million Dollar Hotel||2001||Music Producer||n/a||1|
|Short Cuts||1993||Music Producer||n/a||1|
|Fried Green Tomatoes||1991||Song||song producer("Barbeque Bess")||1|
|Gangs of New York||2002||Music Producer||Original Score Producer||1|
|Gangs of New York||2002||Music Producer||("Brooklyn Heights")||1|
|The Million Dollar Hotel||2001||Song||n/a||1|
|Robert Altman's Jazz '34||1996 1995 - 1996||Music Producer||n/a||1|
|The Million Dollar Hotel||2001||Song Performer||("Nyack Oud Dance")||1|
|Bugs Bunny's Creature Features||1991 1990 - 1991||Special Thanks||n/a||1|
|The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg||1994||Thanks||n/a||1|
|Composed the score for the animated short "The Duxorcist"|
|Began providing sketch music for "Saturday Night Live"|
|Worked again with Altman on "Kansas City"|
|Helped found The Knitting Factory, an alternative club/record label in New York|
|First collaboration with Robert Altman as music coordinator on "Short Cuts"|
|Served as music producer on the feature "Heaven"|
|Arranged music for documentary "Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey"|
Willner began providing sketch music for NBC's "Saturday Night Live" in 1980 and was music producer of the critically acclaimed but short-lived series "Michelob Presents Sunday Night" (syndicated, 1988-89), hosted by David Sanborn and produced by Lorne Michaels. He has also been music producer on such TV projects as tributes to Bugs Bunny and Superman (both CBS, 1986 and 1988), "Punch & Judy Get Divorced" (PBS, 1992), "The Music of Kurt Weill: September Songs" (PBS, 1995), the series "Live from the House of Blues" (TBS, 1995-1996) and others.
Willner's first big screen outing was the score for the animated short "The Duxorcist" (1987), the same year he was a music producer on the feature "Heaven", a limpid romance that included Bryan Adams' hit ballad "A Night in Heaven". He served the same function on "Candy Mountain" (1987) and the documentary "Heavy Petting" (1988), a cynical, post-modern look at 1950s dating as told by interviews with celebrities. Willner also produced songs for the films "Bad Influence" ("He Got What He Wanted" 1990) and "Fried Green Tomatoes" ("Barbeque Bess" 1991) before teaming up with Robert Altman for the first time.
"Short Cuts" (1993) was Altman's ultra-cool episodic film about a group of intertwined lives in modern California. Willner provided a modern jazz soundtrack, featuring famed singer Annie Ross (who also acted in the film), Iggy Pop and Michael Stipe. (The producer, however, purposely did not use the voices of cast members Hughie Lewis or Lyle Lovett.) A wide-ranging score, it contained modern jazz composed by Mark Isham, Elvis Costello and others, augmented with pieces by Dvorak, Stravinsky and Victor Herbert.
Willner and Altman collaborated again on "Kansas City" (1996), the director's tribute to the jazz scene of 1934. With music that was even more essential to the plot, Willner created his own small-town jazz orchestra to play everything from swing to jazz to barrel-house with a crew of hot young musicians and arrangers. Real-life musicians Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and Charlie Parker were depicted in the film, and their music, as well as that of Basie and Ellington, was mined as well. The score was named the best of the year by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
A recent non-Altman project was the 1993 documentary "Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey", a tribute to the Russian professor who invented the first electronic musical instrument in 1920 (Ironically, its subject Leon Theremin died just as the film went into release in 1995). Willner is also a founding father of The Knitting Factory, an alternative music club and record label in New York, which has provided a forum for such talents as John Zorn, Samm Bennett and David Murray.
|"Altman and music producer Hal Willner have collected the greatest assortment of jazz artists since ESQUIRE shot the photograph in 1946 that became the basis of the documentary 'A Great Day in Harlem'." --Phil Gallo reviewing "Kansas City" in VARIETY, July 16, 1996|
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