This soundtrack to Sidney Lumet's 1964 film The Pawnbroker might not rate with such other Quincy Jones celluloid efforts as In the Heat of the Night, but its fine mix of jazz, bossa nova, soul, and vocals still makes it one of his best. Bookended by two vocal takes of the main title theme (one by Marc Allen and one from Sarah Vaughan), the bulk here shows off Jones' deft touch with mixing disparate elements into a coherent and swinging whole ("Harlem Drive," "The Naked Truth"). There's also plenty of noir-ish moodiness and even some dialogue by the star, Rod Steiger. And with trombonist J.J. Johnson and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard chiming in as well, the mix maintains its sophisticated air throughout. Now part of a two-fer that includes Jones' soundtrack to A Deadly Affair, The Pawnbroker is a must for both Jones fans and film music buffs.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook
feat: Sarah Vaughan