Gustavo Santaolalla channels Kerouac in 'That's It' - Premiere

Jazz track anchors film adaptation of Beat hero's 'On the Road'

Gustavo Santaolalla
Courtesy of VERVE
December 11, 2012 9:00 AM ET

Gustavo Santaolalla's "That's It" evokes the Beat movement: it has uncontainable energy, percussive piano and the feel of Jack Kerouac's signature run-on sentences. That's appropriate, as Santaolalla is scoring On the Road, the new film based on Kerouac's seminal novel.

"'That's It' is played in a club by a band that is supposed to be from that time," Santaolalla tells Rolling Stone. "Dean talks to Sal about how the tenor sax player achieves or reaches 'it' in his solo."

The track is authoritative; each note asserts its presence.  "I thought about that moment where jazz artists from that era like Dizzy Gillespie started to experiment with Afro-Cuban rhythms and musicians like Chano Pozo," Santaolalla adds. "I want it to be primitive, percussive and hot." Paired with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Charlie Parker on the soundtrack, Santaolalla's "That's It" illuminates jazz's influence on Beat poetry.

On the Road hits theaters on December 21st. The soundtrack arrives in stores on December 11th on Verve.

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