Various Artists

Crime Jazz: Music in the First Degree

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Eighteen excerpts from movie and television soundtracks to crime drama, recorded between 1954 and 1964; in the few cases when these are not from the actual soundtrack itself, they're clearly inspired by the genre. Several notable composers (Elmer Bernstein, Henry Mancini, Count Basie, Leonard Bernstein, David Amram) and performers (Shorty Rogers, Stan Kenton, Quincy Jones) show up here with snazzy, tense works with feet in both the jazz and soundtrack idioms. Several of the tracks are classics of the style -- the theme to the Johnny Staccato series, "Frankie Machine" from The Man with the Golden Arm, Shorty Rogers' The Wild One theme, Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn" (done here by Quincy Jones), and Mancini's ominous main title music to the film noir classic Touch of Evil. It's slightly recommended over its companion volume, Crime Jazz: Music in the Second Degree, because it has a higher concentration of familiar classics. Each of the volumes, however, will appeal far more to the soundtrack specialist than the jazz fan -- not that you can't be both at once.

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