Peter Thomas isn't too well known outside of Europe, despite having worked with Combustible Edison, but in Europe he's a popular guy -- as he should be, considering his record (no pun intended) when it comes to scoring "krimis," the hard-boiled crime film genre that Germany took to in the 1960s. Thomas scored the Edgar Wallace series, a variety of German westerns (no kidding), the science fiction series Raumpatrouille Orion (the music for which was revived in the late '90s by various remixers), and the Jerry Cotton private-eye series in which Cotton (George Nader) ventured out every six months or so to solve crimes, get beaten up, bed women, and shoot bad guys. This means, of course, that the music is a highly European spin on the kind of music you might hear in a 1960s private-eye flick coming out of Hollywood. Sometimes this renders out as a slinky kind of jazz, sometimes as a surreal crossbreed that has more than a small hint of irony built in (if not outright humor), and sometimes as James Last-does-noir (German big band with a hyper trombonist and a hellbound trumpeter). The cues are drawn from the scores for eight Jerry Cotton outings between 1965 and 1968, so a variety of styles and themes crop up. The remastering is excellent, and there are a number of cuts that have never been released before. Thanks to Peter Thomas' breezy, snappy work, the two CDs are a treat to listen to, and it's very easy to forget that this is supposed to be music for snappy, violent crime movies. Ah, those Europeans.
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