Review by Rick Watrous
The original 1976 record and initial CD versions contain half a magnificent film score, half jazz-lite cover versions of the same music. Bernard Herrmann's soundtrack, full of dark, brooding brass, menacing percussion and a bittersweet dash of jazz saxophone, greatly enhance this big city tale of obsession, paranoia and violence. Robert DeNiro's chilling narration of "Diary of a Taxi Driver" -- including the famous "You talking to me?" monologue -- served as one of the models for the anger and isolation inherent in much of punk music. For some strange reason, the entire first side of the album is devoted to bland covers of Herrmann's music by arranger Dave Blume. Thankfully, Blume's arrangements are unnoticeable in the film itself, but their inclusion here distracts from a powerful soundtrack. Blume's arrangements are firmly rooted in L.A. mid-'70s fuzak, while Herrmann's score is one for the ages.