Henry Mancini

The Music from Peter Gunn [From the NBC Television Series]

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Remember how strikingly contemporary it seemed when Miami Vice used Phil Collins and Glenn Frey on its soundtrack, or years later when the producers of Gilmore Girls and The O.C. showcased young indie bands on their shows? Well, it was just that revolutionary in 1958 when Blake Edwards, producer of the otherwise fairly standard detective show Peter Gunn, tapped the young composer Henry Mancini to write a soundtrack informed by the West Coast-style cool jazz of Dave Brubeck and Chet Baker. The soundtrack album for Peter Gunn may be best known for the cool twang guitar riff of the main theme (later lifted wholesale by the B-52's for "Planet Claire," among others who recognized its forbidding cool), but this is his most jazz-influenced soundtrack work. There's some particularly impressive work by drummer Shelly Manne and vibes player Victor Feldman, whose cool, understated playing seems to deliberately recall that of Milt Jackson.

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