Billy May

Johnny Cool

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Neat soundtrack work from May, who was primarily known as an arranger (one of Frank Sinatra's favorites, mainly due to his playfulness) despite an impressive number of original compositions (including the theme to Naked City.) This soundtrack manages to mix the early '60s caper-flick brand of jazz with the darker feel of 1950s film noir -- a genre to which Johnny Cool was a deliberate throwback. Capping off the record are two performances by Sammy Davis, Jr. -- May's own "Bee Boom" and the Van Heusen/Cahn "The Ballad of Johnny Cool," which Davis delivers with typical low-key aplomb. Ryko's remastering makes the music shine.

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