Crime and Spy Jazz on Screen Since 1971

A History and Discography


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About the Book

Henry Mancini’s Peter Gunn theme. Lalo Schifrin’s Mission: Impossible theme. Isaac Hayes’ theme from Shaft. These iconic melodies have remained a part of the pop culture landscape since their debuts back when movie studios and TV production companies employed full orchestral ensembles to provide a jazz backdrop for the suspenseful adventures of secret agents, private detectives, cops, spies and heist-minded criminals. Hundreds of additional films and television shows made from the mid–1950s and beyond have been propelled by similarly swinging title themes and underscores, many of which have (undeservedly) faded into obscurity. This meticulously researched book begins with Hayes’ game-changing music for Shaft, and honors the careers of traditional jazz composers who—as the 1970s gave way to the ’80s and beyond—resolutely battled against the pernicious influx of synth, jukebox scores and a growing corporate disinterest in lavish ensembles. Fans frustrated by the lack of attention paid to jazz soundtrack composers—including Mort Stevens, Laurie Johnson, Mike Post, Earle Hagen, David Shire, Elmer Bernstein and many, many others—will find solace in these pages (along with all the information needed to enhance one’s music library). But this is only half the story; the saga’s origins are discussed in this book’s companion volume, Crime and Action Jazz on Screen: 1950-1970.

About the Author(s)

Derrick Bang has written film, television, music, and general entertainment commentary for magazines and local newspapers since 1974, and supplies regular columns and features to The Davis Enterprise. He lives in Davis, California.

Bibliographic Details

Derrick Bang
Foreword by Pat Irwin

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 273
Bibliographic Info: 24 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8163-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3989-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Foreword by Pat Irwin 1
Introduction 3
1. Do Your Thing: 1971 9
2. Blowin’ Your Mind: 1972 29
3. Last Dance in Sausalito: 1973 46
4. Suite Revenge: 1974 66
5. So Smooth: 1975 83
6. God’s Lonely Man: 1976 99
7. Bleak, Bad, Big City Dawn: 1977–78 109
8. That Old Feeling: 1979–81 122
9. Gumshoe Piano: 1982–84 133
10. Tequila Dreams: 1985–89 148
11. Freshly Squeezed: 1990–94 165
12. Chili Hot: 1995–99 178
13. Heartbroken: 2000–03 195
14. Sugar Plum Raid: 2004–2019 206
Epilogue 218
Appendix A: Instrument Abbreviations 221
Appendix B: Discography 222
Appendix C: Cover Artists, Compilation Albums and Box Sets 241
Chapter Notes 245
Bibliography 251
Index 253

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Excellent…Bang’s writing style is clear and engaging throughout, and the chosen selections are often revelatory. In fact, this reviewer found himself wanting to go and grab many a score being discussed, and/ or make a list of great films to revisit, or television shows to track down and binge watch. Well researched…Bang’s enthusiasm for the topic shines forth throughout”—Film Score

• “For those of us who love music for media, both volumes are a must!”—Association for Recorded Sound Collections Journal