Greg Yasinitsky“The Cross-Up” — a short comedy film about a mafia-like character receiving a visit from God to turn his life around — features music composed and performed by WSU’s Greg Yasinitsky, Regents professor of music, saxophone, composition, and jazz studies.

The entire process for creating the soundtrack took approximately a year, Yasinitsky said. This involved writing the music, recording and having the directors review the soundtrack among other steps.

“I have always wanted to write music for the movies, but never had the opportunity,” Yasinitsky said. “This was sort of serendipitous.” He originally became involved with the project when his childhood friend and screenwriter Jerry Hauck was discussing the need for a composer.

Yasinitsky’s connection to the writer gave him the opportunity, but he was selected to compose the score because of his extensive background in music, he said.

The 22-minute film, directed by Eddie Velez, was featured in multiple film festivals as well as screenings in Los Angeles. It is now available on Amazon Prime.

“We have great musicians here at WSU and a great recording studio just down the hall,” he said. “I thought if I put this together, we can use the people here.”

The movie has religious themes and the soundtrack features the organ, gospel-style music, and a jazz element. Most of the soundtrack was recorded acoustically rather than electronically because Yasinitsky wanted the movie to have a unique soundtrack.

“I was really lucky. [The directors] liked everything right away,” he said. “They wanted to use the electronic version, but I said, ‘No, we want to use real musicians to make it sound better.’ ”

Yasinitsky played saxophone and keyboard on the soundtrack, and WSU Professor Emeritus Ann Yasinitsky played flute. Other faculty members also contributed, including David Jarvis on drums, Brian Ward on the keyboards, and David Snider on bass.

Yasinitsky specializes in saxophone and jazz composition. He has composed several pieces of music and has performed in more than 40 countries.

“Music is universal,” he said. “You can find it in any culture in the world,”

He joined the faculty at WSU in 1982 and is the only Regents professor in the arts. Yasinitsky also directed the WSU jazz band for 30 years. He served as the School of Music Director from 2011 until he stepped down from the position in April of this year.

Despite the excitement of composing a soundtrack for a movie and working on other projects, Yasinitsky said he loves his work teaching students at the University.

“The best part is working with all the talented students and seeing what they do with their careers,” Yasinitsky said. “A lot of them are touring the world playing. They are recording artists and teaching at universities all over the place.”

Top photo: Greg Yasinitsky in his office at WSU, photo by Alyssa Stanfield.

By Madysen Mclain for The Daily Evergreen