WHO better to interview a film composer than a film composer.

That's what Colchester-based musician Jason Frederick has been doing with some of the biggest names in the business.

Jason is a Canadian musician who has written pieces for Hollywood films, television adverts, and once topped the rock charts in his home country.

A member of indie rock band The Walk, who got signed to a major record label, when the band disbanded he decided to go to film school in California.

After graduating Jason began working with composer Richard Gibbs, who did the music for Dr Doolittle with Eddie Murphy and the Muppets Tonight and his first writing job was on a film Richard was scoring called 28 Days with Sandra Bullock and Dominic West.

Jason says: "The composers project is really a work in progress kind of thing which I'm trying to fit in with all my other stuff but I'd like to do more of them.

"I started it earlier this year when I went on-line to see if there were any interviews of the composers I'm really into and although there were plenty, none of the interviews were asking the questions I wanted answered.

"The first composer I met up with was Howard Blake in April," he continues. "He's probably best known as the man behind the Snowman but actually I wanted to speak to him about Amityville 3D, which is not a particularly great film but has just the most amazing soundtrack.

"I saw it when I was 12 and the music really stuck with me.

"He was a really lovely guy and we talked about all kinds of things like how he took over the Avengers from Laurie Johnson and how he numbers all his pieces plus we got to go over his scores which as a composer was a real treat."

Now available on Jason's You-Tube channel, his latest interview, which will go up on-line next month, is with Kes composer John Cameron.

"when it comes to soundtracks," Jason says, "it doesn't get better than Kes. But he's done lots of other things that people probably don't know about like the orchestration for Les Miserables and that famous instrumental of Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love, which they used on Top of the Pops for years. That was him as well.

"I've got a few more composers I'm pretty keen to speak to and a few more in the pipeline but I really would have liked to chat to George Martin before he died. I wrote a little appreciation of his composing work on my website because while he was probably one of the most famous producers in the world, he was very underrated for his composing work."

Jason moved to England with his wife, Angela, who grew up in the area, and now from his Colchester home he has written original music for films such as 101 Dalmatians 2: Patch's London Adventure, television programs such as Darcy's Wildlife and Disney's The Replacements as well as adverts for companies like Rolex and Bombay Sapphire.

He's also worked as a session musician playing on recordings featuring Billy Preston, Will Young, and German Lounge pioneer Peter Thomas.

This weekend Jason will be bringing back another of his projects, Mods and Coppers, which he premiered at the Colchester Arts Centre last year which coincided with the launch of an album with the same name.

It was his love of soundtracks that inspired him to record the album of new arrangements of film music.

Jason says: “The arrangements are from Sixties and Seventies films by composers like Lalo Schifrin, Quincy Jones, and Laurie Johnson, from movies such as Bullitt, Dirty Harry, and Get Carter. It’s sort of a tribute to that era where jazz and funk players were a big part of cinema and television music."

After its premiere last summer, Jason did a stripped back version as part the Colchester Film Festival and then most recently debuted the show in London.

"It was great to do the show in London," he adds. "It was at a place called the Hideaway in South London, where they have a lot of jazz and funk so it was obviously set up really well for Mods and Coppers.

"I've still got the same band and they're still great but we've added a big chunk of more material, which went down really well.

"The first time around the set was just over an hour long but now we've probably got another 45 minutes, which worked really well in London. I've even put in a little bit of George Martin's Live and Let Die music in there, which actually works really well."

Complete with a pre-recorded set, also with visuals from some of the most iconic films from the late Sixties and early Seventies, Jason had thought about expanding the show to include film soundtracks from other eras.

"But actually there's so much from that era alone," he explains, "there really is no need. And I still love the coupling between music and the moving image. I mean that's how I got into to all of this in the first place."

Mods and Coppers

Colchester Arts Centre,

Church Street, Colchester.

Saturday, June 18. Doors 8pm, show 8.30pm.

£11, £9 concessions. 01206 500900.


Jason's Top Ten Composers

It's impossible to actually narrow it down to five, but at the moment my top five most relevant to the present are:

Lalo Schifrin - A universe unto himself. From Mission Impossible to Cool Hand Luke to THX-1138 to Amityville Horror. Able to utilise techniques from all the stylistic developments of classical and contemporary music, he is impeccable in his choices and fearless in his approach, which is what I think makes his music sound so timeless, and so cool.

John Barry - Probably the main entry point into my love of film and tv music. The first time I saw films that had scores that transfixed me and then found the recordings of the scores away from the film were by him. An instantly recognisable style and approach to melody.

George Martin - Aside from being regarded as potentially the greatest producer of the 20th Century, he was a really fantastic and underrated film composer and arranger and all of his film scores were excellent, such as Yellow Submarine, Live and Let Die and The Optimists of Nine Elms.

Laurie Johnson - Another really early exposure to music came through The Avengers, where I got to hear hour after hour of music by Laurie Johnson (and later on Howard Blake), played by the best of British 1960's musicians. Through this I discovered the his other fantastic scores to things like Tiger Bay, The New Avengers, The Professionals.

Quincy Jones - One of the great things about composers from both sides of the Atlantic in what I consider to be the golden period is how they all had access to the same pool of musicians and studios (the best ones) and yet all produced instantly recognisable and unique music, and Quincy Jones is a perfect example of this. Ironside, The Italian Job, The Lost Man - the mood and level of excitement is instant Quincy Jones, from the first seconds.