Although he is most famous for film scores like Breakfast at Tiffany's and The Pink Panther, Henry Mancini also maintained a notable side career as instrumental mood music artist. One of his most interesting releases in this vein is The Cop Show Themes, a 1976 outing that finds Mancini applying his arranging skills to the theme music for the many police dramas that occupied the television airwaves of the time. The resulting album is as stylish and as well-recorded as one would expect a Henry Mancini album to be but also sports a tougher and funkier edge thanks to the gritty style that pervades much of the music. Highlights on The Cop Show Themes include "Baretta's Theme," which builds from a thumpng bass solo into an orchestrated slice of jazz-funk, and "The Streets of San Francisco," which alternates funky sections where serpentine horn arrangements flutter over a churning rhythm section with fast-paced jazz sections where silky electric keyboards glide over a thumping, bop jazz beat. There is also a surprising version of "The Rockford Files," which replaces the synthesizer and country style of Mike Post's original version with a harpsichord and a classical-style arrangement bolstered by some stately strings. All the cuts also benefit from the tight performances of a crack session band that includes such jazz luminaries as Lee Ritenour and Harvey Mason. The one downside of The Cop Show Themes is its miserly length: the album just barely runs over 25 minutes. Despite this unfortunate brevity, The Cop Show Themes remains a tight and energetic affair that is well worth a listen for Mancini aficionados and fans of funky television themes.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco