I was approached to compose, arrange, and record a collection of original jazz songs for the upcoming feature film THE CHAPERONE, starring Elizabeth McGovern. It’s a beautiful film, set in the 1920’s, and the project provided an unique opportunity to work in a genre and era you rarely encounter in motion pictures. It was a joy to return to the music of that decade and come up with something that felt authentic and original for the period. I approached the project with the idea of creating the mythical “B Sides” to albums that could have existed.
I put together an amazing team, and together we recorded a variety of ensembles, ranging from small dixieland style groups to full big bands to resemble the sound and instrumentation of the era. The all star band included instrumentation like tuba (instead of bass) and banjo (instead of guitar). Recorded over a long day at NRG Studios in Los Angeles, CA.
Elizabeth McGovern, star and producer of the film, attended the recordings; it was a real honor and joy to work with her on these songs.
Michael Engler, director. Elizabeth McGovern, Victoria Hill, Andrew Mann, Gary Hamilton, Julian Fellowes, producers.
Original Songs by Jonathan Hartman.
Starring Elizabeth McGovern (“Downton Abbey”, “Ordinary People”) , Haley Lu Richardson (“Edge of Seventeen”, “Ravenswood”) and Campbell Scott (“House of Cards”, “Damages”, “The Daytrippers”)
In the early 1920s, a Kansas woman finds her life forever changed when she accompanies a young dancer on her fame-seeking journey to New York City.
PBS, Masterpiece and Fibonacci Films in association with Rose Pictures, Hamilton Entertainment and Anonymous Content are producing the film. PBS Distribution is planning a theatrical release of The Chaperone in the US in 2018. The film centres on a woman whose life is changed forever when she chaperones a young and soon-to-be-famous Louise Brooks to New York. Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes adapted the script based on Laura Moriarty’s novel of the same name. Michael Engler directs the film that stars Elizabeth McGovern, Haley Lu Richardson, Victoria Hill, Campbell Scott, Geza Rohrig, Blythe Danner and Miranda Otto. McGovern, who is also a producer, optioned the novel and worked with Fellowes to adapt it for the big screen. The pair worked together on Downton Abbey alongside Engler.
Here are some photos from the recording sessions