Music from the movies and television are the source materials on this compilation. Drummer Shelly Manne's handling of Henry Mancini's themes from Blake Edwards' film Gunn -- based on the Peter Gunn television detective series -- yields an absorbing session that provides lots of open spaces for Manne and his quintet. Daktari is purely commercial music from a television series about a veterinarian and conservationist working in Africa. The show ran from 1966 to 1969. Each week, Judy the chimp and Clarence the cross-eyed lion regularly upstaged the humans. The group on 1967's Jazz Gunn (not to be confused with Manne's 1959 release, Shelly Manne & His Men Play Peter Gunn) swings on its own terms, finding innumerable subtleties to explore in Mancini's music. Trumpeter Conte Candoli and saxophonist Frank Strozier play with intense focus and imagination. Bassist Monty Budwig is uncharacteristically prominent, revealing his gifts as a mesmerizing arco player and fluid soloist. Pianist Mike Wofford comps sagely and solos with elegance and drive. Manne uses his versatile resources and sophisticated rhythmic awareness to deal with time, color, and texture. Throughout, he provides a masters' class in playing the ride cymbal. Daktari is another story. Manne's African inspirations are combined with surf music, pop, and polite touches of rock & roll. The performances could have been executed by any number of hired guns. Still, the 1968 session has its engaging moments, the near sub-sonic throb of Emil Richards' bass marimba being the highlight. Daktari was among the hundreds of commercial dates Manne took in addition to his work as one of the finest drummers in jazz, a founding father of the West Coast jazz scene, and the leader of the all-star house band at the drummer's legendary Hollywood club, Shelly's Manne-Hole.
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AllMusic Review by Jim Todd