Various Artists

Jazz on Film, Vol. 2: Beat Square & Cool

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AllMusic Review by

Moochin About set a new standard when they issued the box set Jazz on Film: Crime Jazz by revealing just how seamless the relationship between fine jazz and cinema can be. And while noir is probably the most common example of how the two collaborate, this release proves it was simply a matter of addressing that topic first. Jazz on Film, Vol. 2: Beat Square and Cool provides more and perhaps further-reaching examples of how profound jazz can be in illustrating the moving image. There are eight scores represented over these five discs. The first opens with Leith Stevens' music for The Wild One. The first four cues are led by Shorty Rogers & His Orchestra, and all contain suggestions of Stan Kenton-esque progressivism. The remainder are by Stevens' group, which includes Rogers and Maynard Ferguson; many of these cues are closer to fingerpopping hard bop. This disc is rounded out by three selections from Franz Waxman's excellent score for Panic in the Streets. Two Gerry Mulligan groups bridge discs two and four, but on two different scores. In the first case it's in six selections from Johnny Mandell's brilliant music for I Want to Live. The composer's own orchestra fills out the rest and it's as compelling as the film itself. Mulligan's group appears again in the complete Andre Previn score for The Subterraneans (based on Jack Kerouac's novel of the same name). In the past, the music from the film has gotten a raw deal. While the film is problematic, Previn's music -- for quartet and orchestra, as well as a vocal tune from Carmen McRae -- is anything but: it's sublime. The music for the French film Les Tricheurs and Martin Ritt's set-in-France Paris Blues are on disc three. The former compiles bop- and hard bop-era American jazz tunes from Coleman Hawkins, Stan Getz, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, and more. Paris Blues was composed by Duke Ellington and is arguably better than the one he turned in for Anatomy of a Murder. What's more, it features Louis Armstrong on trumpet (he plays the character Wild Man Moore in the film). The final disc in the set includes the four pieces Charles Mingus wrote for Shadows that reflect his solo work of the period, and the iconic bop and hard bop Freddie Redd composed for the Jack Gelber play-cum-Shirley Clark film The Connection -- with Jackie McLean on alto saxophone. The collection features great sound, fantastic liner notes by series producer Selwyn Harris, complete personnel lineups, loads of stills, and other photographs all packaged in a killer slipcase box.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 6:54
2 3:33
3 3:54
4 4:42
5 4:38
6 5:11
7 1:21
8 1:36
9 4:08
10 1:39
11 4:01
12 2:05
13 1:11
14 1:28
15 2:35
16 1:03
17 1:08
18 2:48
19 1:25
20 1:47
21 1:04
22 0:54
blue highlight denotes track pick